NORMAN — After a six-and-a-half-year process, an executed deed for the Smalley Army Reserve Center was received from the Corps of Engineers and filed with the Cleveland County Clerk last week.
When the process began in April 2006, the Department of Defense decided to close the Smalley ARC, and the Army Reserve planned to move to a new facility on Tecumseh Road.
After the new facility was built, the Reserve moved out of the Smalley ARC in December 2010. At that point, the city of Norman took possession of the facility. Almost two years after that, the deed was finally executed.
The reason the process of getting the deed took so long was because the Army and Corp. of Engineers had to find all of the paperwork for the facility, said Linda Price, with the city of Norman’s Office of Planning and Community Development.
“We didn’t have the deed, so we couldn’t do anything without owning the property,” Price said.
When the decision to relocate the Army Reserve was made, a committee was formed to decide who the best candidate would be to take over the property.
Norman Police Department Cpt. Tom Easley said at the time, he remembers the police and fire department, Norman Public Schools and a day care interested in the facility.
“One of the key selling points was the benefits to the department of a place to hold and maintain evidence and other property associated with investigations with the department,” Easley said.
He said he believed the fire department had a similar problem: not enough space.
“We thought at the time, this would help kill two birds with one stone. I think that was key in getting the bid,” he said.
The building will eventually be used for police and fire investigations, a crime lab, evidence storage and other related police activities.