Model Of 'A Gathering Place For Tulsa' Unveiled To The Public

Tuesday, June 18th 2013, 6:37 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsans got their first look at "A Gathering Place" Tuesday.

After years of planning, the final model is out for the start of a what's expected to be a world class park along Riverside Drive.

It's going to be one of the largest and most expensive privately-funded parks in the United States, and while construction doesn't start until next year, the plans are out right now.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation has committed about $200 million to the project, which they'll build and maintain.

So, at practically no cost to the city, besides roadwork that's needed anyway, Tulsa will get a massive park, designed to be a new hub of interest for the city.

The 200-sq.-ft. model for the park was unveiled Tuesday evening.

The first phase will rebuild the Blair Mansion property into a series of lakes and playgrounds, and reconfigure Riverside Drive with land bridges overhead that, for visitors, preserve the view of the river and hide the cars.

Before the public unveiling, the city council got a look at what's coming.

"I think it's totally awesome," said Councilor David Patrick. "I've never seen anything like this before and it's amazing that we could have something like this in Tulsa. It's exciting and the only thing I can say is it's awesome."

6/18/2013 Related Story: Get A Glimpse Of 'A Gathering Place For Tulsa' Tonight

The lifelike renderings show the future--the view from Riverside Drive and how it will look from above. They show lots of tree-covered trails, with plenty of green, open spaces. There are lakes and playgrounds throughout the 55 acres.

It's not all going to be built at once, though. A second phase will build around Crow Creek, and the third phase, south to 33rd Place.

The people who have seen it consider it to be a transformative project for Tulsa.

Learn more about A Gathering Place For Tulsa

"Any time we have these big dramatic brushstroke projects, Tulsans start feeling better about being Tulsans," said Councilor Blake Ewing. "We've got a great city and a wonderful place to live, but these huge, endeavors make us more proud of who we are and it feels like a big city and I think people like that."

The overall design for phase one is complete, but finishing out the details will take the rest of this year.

Next spring, the plans are to break ground and change Tulsa's riverfront in a dramatic way.

Tonight at 9 & 10 we'll hear from the landscape architect who designed A Gathering Place, in an interview with Lacie Lowry.