Commissioners discuss Greer Center future

Department of Human Services

ENID, Okla. — Oklahoma Department of Human Services could allocate $16 million to renovate and improve Robert M. Greer Center in the near future, according to a city of Enid political liaison.

During a city commissioners meeting Tuesday, lawyer and former legislator Curt Roggow shared that of the millions set aside for Department of Human Services in state general appropriations budget, $16 million likely will be spent on Greer Center.

The Enid-based center, under contract with DHS, houses developmentally disabled individuals who are considered dangerous to themselves or others.

Because of his political experience and connections, Roggow delivers periodic legislative reports to the to the city.

No legislation presented so far has mentioned that funding be used for the Greer facility specifically.

“No, there’s never been any legislation that requires it be spent in Enid, or that it be spent elsewhere,” he said.

However, Roggow expressed confidence that the $16 million appropriated to DHS is meant for Greer.

“I would say that we have a long history here ... and we have 150 families of employees and patients that would probably appreciate it staying here,” Roggow said.

He also said it has been heavily implied the Enid facility is the intended recipient.

The Senate bill that initially requested the $16 million be set aside did not mention Robert M. Greer Center, but when Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed that same bill, a statement from his office provided more insight.

“This infrastructure fund is set aside for the maintenance and care of the Robert M. Greer Center,” the veto message said.

“I share the Legislature’s desire to address this pressing need. However, by placing the money in a fund that can only be expended at the direction of the Legislature, I fear this ... will be unduly deferred to a different date,” the message said. “Instead, I direct this money be expended at the direction of the Department of Human Services, in collaboration with the Legislature and my office.”

Though the governor vetoed the bill, the funding still is available for DHS to spend.

“The money is already at DHS,” Roggow said. “The veto just took the politics out of it.”

“They’re (DHS) going to refurbish the facility,” Roggow said, it’s just a question of when DHS decides to pull the trigger.

In the past, DHS has proposed moving Greer Center into other buildings once part of the now defunct Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid facility, which is directly next to where Greer is located.

Roggow said he is not certain what improvements or changes DHS will make to the Greer facility, but that DHS recently had been looking at relocating the facility to structures in the southwest corner of the former NORCE property.

After hearing Roggow’s legislative report, city commissioners approved several contracts, including roadwork, ADA accessibility renovations to Garfield Elementary School and other projects, for a total expense of $1.5 million.

The commissioners also voted on applicants to fill vacancies on Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and Park Board. It unanimously appointed Mike Stuber to MAPC, and also unanimously, James Cheatham to Park Board.

Click for the latest, full-access Enid News & Eagle headlines | Text Alerts | app downloads

Willetts is education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. He can be reached at mwilletts@enidnews.com.

React to this story:

3
1
0
0
0