Progress Being Made On Entrance Way Into Tulsa's Gathering Place

Friday, September 8th 2017, 5:48 pm
By: Emory Bryan

In less than a year, the Gathering Place will be filled with visitors, and the entrance for many will be just off 31st Street.

The large change in topography created a challenge to make an entrance that gets people in and then up to one of the high points of the park.

As you walk into the Four Seasons Garden today, it's not as apparent as it will be that it’s the gateway to the park for many visitors.

A series of 25 stacked stone columns line a walkway into the Gathering Place.

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“It'll look like the dirt was moved away and the dirt exposed these rocks,” Project Manager Jeff Stava said.

The sidewalk is still being created and the foundations for more columns are being built, but, from above, the pathway is more clear - right between Riverside Drive and the neighborhood.

The tops of the columns have planters in them and the plan is to have it create a landscaped passage that separates visitors from what's beyond the stone walls.

“It was a real challenge to come up with access into the park but also protect the neighborhood and the parkgoers from the roadway itself,” Stava said.

The Four Seasons Garden leads visitors in and uphill, but it's all accessible for wheelchairs.

“You'll walk up and as you get to the top, you’re up about 35 feet from the grade at 31st Street and you'll have a view of downtown Tulsa,” Stava said.

The rock is all native - from McCurtain County - selected for color, cut to order and numbered for a specific spot.

1/26/2017 Related Story: Native Stonework Making Tulsa’s Gathering Place Distinctly Oklahoman

“Each stone has a place and way it looks, a way it comes out or undulates up against the wall,” Stava said.

It's taking 3,000 tons of rock to build the garden - the southern entrance for visitors to the Gathering Place.

The Four Seasons Garden entrance will also be a stop for the transit system to help handle traffic beyond the 550 available parking spots.