Businesses along Riverside are planning for a major boom with the opening of Gathering Place.
Gathering Place has about 2,000 parking spaces. However, officials say they expect close to 50,000 people to show up for the park’s opening weekend.
Some Brookside businesses say they think many people will park in lots in surrounding areas, but they see that traffic as an opportunity.
The opening of Gathering Place is just days away and businesses along Brookside are trying to find new ways to bring some of the park’s foot traffic through their doors.
For example, Katie Garcia from Cosmo Cafe & Bar says, “We decided that we are going to do box lunches.”
The hope, Garcia says, is to give families heading to Gathering Place another easy and affordable way of having lunch together.
“This is what we’re here for,” she said. “We are here to accommodate the Riverside.”
Many businesses are preparing for the parking lots on Brookside to be packed with park goers, but many hope that will mean new customers.
“Pretty sure people are going to be in the area just to park and they are just going to run into awesome place like Ida Red,” said Maggie Donoho from Ida Red. “I think the Gathering Place is going to be great for Ida Red and for all of the businesses on Brookside.”
Park visitors will not be able to use Gathering Place parking until 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning.
Park leaders are encouraging people to use the free shuttles instead. The shuttles will start running at 6:00 a.m. Saturday and run every 15 minutes from OSU Tulsa, the fairgrounds, and River Spirit Casino.
“I still think that is good for us, just because more people are getting acquainted with this area,” said Donoho.
Garcia says, “I think that it is going to help us tremendously.”