PRess release highlighting the memorandum of understanding between the CAre center & the Oklahoma city federation of colored women's club
OKLAHOMA CITY, March 14, 2019 — Public concerns about the proposed demolition of an Oklahoma City property were resolved this week, according to leaders of two non-profit organizations.
The CARE Center, a child advocacy nonprofit, and the Oklahoma City Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (OCFCWC), an organization dedicated to advancing moral, social, economic and spiritual welfare of families, announced a memorandum of understanding regarding the Brockway Center.
The Brockway Center, a two-story home, is located at 1440 N. Everest Lane near the state Capitol. It was purchased by The CARE Center in 2018 as part of CARE’s plans to expand services for abused children in Oklahoma County. The OCFCWC owned the Brockway Center from 1968 to 2011. The CARE Center is the fourth owner of the home since 2011.
The CARE Center initially hoped to renovate the Brockway Center, which is adjacent to its five-building campus in the heart of Oklahoma City, but significant structural deficits in the building have rendered it irreparable.
“Important work happened here,” said Stacy McNeiland, CEO of The CARE Center. “We’ve been talking with OCFCWC leaders to better understand their goals not only about preserving their past but solidifying the important role they play in our community’s future.”
“The work our members did at the Brockway Center is important,” said Sandra Finney, OCFCWC president. “We want to make sure their contributions to our community are remembered, and that the mission of advancing women and families lives on.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the OCFCWC will withdraw all objections to the demolition of the Brockway Center. In return, The CARE Center will provide free meeting space for the OCFCWC within the new facility. The OCFCWC will also have a seat on The CARE Center’s board of directors.
“These ladies are dedicated to improving the lives of the people in our community and to giving a voice to people who can’t speak for themselves,” said McNeiland. “That’s what The CARE Center is about too. Once we recognized that shared mission, we were able to come to an agreement that allows both organizations to fulfill that goal – each in its own way.
“Because of this property, our history was already connected, and now we have a shared future, too,” McNeiland said. “We’ve learned so much about each other already. Together, we’ll be unstoppable.”
Construction on the site is scheduled to begin this year.
The CARE Center is Oklahoma County’s only child advocacy center providing services including forensic interviews, family advocacy, mental health services, medical exams resource referrals and abuse prevention education. Children involved in active abuse investigations go to The CARE Center to tell their story in an age-appropriate, non-leading interview that is recorded and used throughout the investigation.
The Oklahoma City Federation for Colored Women’s Clubs is a federation of Oklahoma City’s African American women’s organizations.
highlights of the memorandum of understanding include:
• Subject to availability, The CARE Center will permanently provide a designated space at no charge within the new facility for OCFCWC use for meetings;
• A room dedicated to the history of the Federation, including a display of historic markers regarding the OCFCWC;
• A marker at the curb of the new facility with a picture of the Brockway Center building at the 1440 N. Everest site,
including a brief history of the OCFCWC prepared and submitted by the OCFCWC; and
• A permanent marker attached to the structure near the front entrance of the new CARE Center facility acknowledging the rich history of the OCFCWC.
The CARE Center expansion plans: Myth v. Truth
Myth: Property owners are required to honor the history of a structure they own, even if that structure has not been designated as a historical property.
Truth: The law is clear. Management of a private property including, renovation, upkeep or demolition, is the right and responsibility of the property owners. In this case, The CARE Center owners have chosen to honor the history of the property because they believe it’s the right thing to do.
Myth: The CARE Center does not care about preserving Oklahoma City’s rich and diverse history.
Truth: The CARE Center is excited to work with the women of the Brockway Center to help tell their story and support their current activities. We have reached an agreement with the women to provide space for their activities, in perpetuity, and we will provide a seat on our board of directors for their members. We welcome the opportunity to partner with such an important organization and share their mission of providing support for our community’s most vulnerable citizens.
Myth: The CARE Center made no effort to preserve the building.
Truth: The CARE Center initially planned to renovate and rehabilitate the house. However, independent experts informed us it would not be possible to do that safely and meet the needs of the kids The CARE Center serves. It’s important to note that The CARE Center owns and has already renovated five other properties in the immediate area of the Brockway Center. While this building can’t safely be renovated, the importance of the work that went on there will be memorialized inside and outside the new space.
Myth: The CARE Center knew and ignored the history of the building.
Truth: When the CARE Center purchased the building, we knew it only as a private residence. When we discovered the significance of the building, we began to look for ways to work with the women of the Brockway Center to help honor their history and assist in their current work.
Myth: The property in question is not zoned for commercial use.
Truth: The home was initially zoned for residential use but is now zoned for commercial use. The property has not been designated as historical, nor did it have that designation when The CARE Center purchased it in 2018.
Myth: The CARE Center didn’t consider a Land Swap offered by the City.
Truth: Neither the City nor any other entity has offered to “swap” properties with The CARE Center. The CARE Center owns the property in question and does not have the funds to purchase additional property in the area.