Black Forest Trees Transformed To Gathering Place Playground
TULSA, Oklahoma - One of the main attractions at Gathering Place is certainly the playground. We were the only TV station to take you more than 5,000 miles away from Oklahoma to Germany, where the play towers were created.
"We're gonna bring the most state-of-the-art playground, safe and exciting for kids of all ages in Tulsa, Oklahoma," said Jeff Stava of the Kaiser Foundation.
Jeff Stava with the George Kaiser Family Foundation promised a playground like no other in Tulsa. A 5-acre space within Gathering Place that is creating a buzz all around the city. A buzz that could be heard in Frasdorf, Germany - a tiny town of less than 3,000 people. The sound of chainsaws had folks there gathering in awe at the creations - creations that soon would make a journey to Tulsa.
"All these farmers have little forests. Nearly all these people here has a kind of natural power to deal with wood and a kind of acceptance of wood," said Julian Richter Sr., Richter Spielgerate.
Farmers in the Bavarian Alps transformed trees in the Black Forest into incredible structures that you will notice standing tall at Gathering Place - like a huge 42-foot tall water tower at Mist Mountain that went from an idea - to a sketch - to such a large structure it filled two semi-trailers.
"And I got this hand sketch and then just said, now design a tower that is working," said Florian Pichler.
And now we have a water tower that will bring relief on the hottest days of summer. A place where kids can cool off - many never thinking about where it was made. And that's okay with its creators, just as long as kids enjoy it as much as they did making it.
"And I hope the children in Tulsa have this feeling as well, and that they have many days and weeks and years to explore the tower and its different functions and what it possible," said Julian Richter Jr.
In all, six large structures were created in Germany for Gathering Place. The tallest is 62 feet. And from up there, kids will soar high above the tree tops - with an amazing view of downtown.
And it was a difficult feat getting these massive structures here. We were there as they were built, taken apart, shipped to Houston and then reassembled in Tulsa. The delivery was so exciting there was even a parade to the park celebrating their homecoming.
The job of putting it all together went to Ed Miller who travels the country building playgrounds. Even he's in awe of Gathering Place.
"This will be the premier playground in the country, if not the world," said Ed Miller, Assembled Playground.
"It's the largest, most comprehensive play equipment and play space ever constructed."
In total, more than 50 semi-trailers were filled with all the towers and the equipment needed to put them up. A major project and incredible feat - and all of it done with kids in mind.
"It will teach kids to communicate and work together, to reach a goal," said Jeff Stava. "That's the beauty of the playground equipment being built; it's designed for kids to interact and play together to make things happen."
A collaboration between two countries, two towns now shared by one space that will change Tulsa's landscape forever. A place to play, relax and dream. A place where we can all gather.
"If I hear this cloud of children's noise over the playground, I know, good job," said Julian Richter Jr., Richter Spielgerate.