September 8: Tulsa's Gathering Place To Open
TULSA, Oklahoma - Gathering Place opens September 8th. The date was announced Friday, along with some of the plans for the first few months of the one-of-a-kind park's opening.
There are some big plans for opening day, including a free concert by The Roots from The Tonight Show, but that will be the kick off of a 100-day, everyday celebration of Gathering Place.
Other acts joining the celebration include A Tribe Called Red, Kirk Franklin and more.
With children watching and cheering, the date was finally revealed. The announcement came in the middle of just one of many playgrounds in the 66-acre park.
Until now, only a few children have visited the playgrounds at Gathering Place for field trips. More than 30,000 kids have been so far, but park leaders closed it again to put on the finishing touches before the grand opening.
It's expected to be one of Tulsa's most significant attractions in the years ahead.
It's a $465 million private investment that's taken four years to build.
“When you think about creating a park of this size with the detail of design, it really hasn't been as long as you think. And it's been great. Tulsans have been so patient, and I think they're going to be rewarded,” said Project Manager Jeff Stava.
The payoff is a redesigned section of Riverside Drive surrounded by landscaped parkland and trails and play equipment.
"This is going to be a permanent attraction, a world-class attraction for families, for toddlers, for seniors," said Park Director Tony Moore.
He said the park will easily attract one million visitors a year, and the plan is to spread the opening celebration over three months.
"Every night a light show, it's going to really be an awesome celebration for this city for 100 days," Moore said.
The park is greening up but work continues on landscaping and finishing two major buildings - a lodge and boathouse.
The bridges over Riverside are done but workers still have a half a million plants that need to go in the ground.
That work continues over the next three months before the September 8th opening.
The opening day is after the start of school, before the state fair and after the heat of summer should break.
The question remains as to when Riverside Drive will reopen; the City will announce that Monday.