Plan develops to ask voters for new public safety center

BY DIANA BALDWIN Modified: August 6, 2010 at 1:44 pm •  Published: June 2, 2010
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EDMOND — City council members want to let Edmond voters decide if they are in favor of a new public safety center to house police headquarters, a jail, public safety communications and emergency management operations.

Voters turned down a $31.5 million public safety center proposal in November 2008. People didn’t like it partly because the new center wasn’t going to be built downtown and was going to raise property taxes.

City officials are hoping to come up with a plan that will answer a lot of the problems the voters saw in the first proposal.

Few people say they disagree that the city needs a new center because the present facilities are too small and out of date. Police say security in the jail is a constant problem because the facility is so small and poorly laid out for officer safety.

The majority of people polled said they want the new center built downtown.

City officials in March purchased the building that houses Tammy’s Laundry, 28 E Hurd, and a vacant building at 15 N Littler Ave. for $425,000 plus closing costs. They are hoping the additional downtown land will help in deciding where to locate the new center.

The original committee appointed to study the issue recommended tearing down the Downtown Community Center, 28 E Main, which is south of the property the council is buying.

Two committees were appointed in April to study the current situation of the public safety center before taking the question to the voters. The committees are studying the scope and scale of the project and a way to fund it before making a second proposal to the voters.