Neighbors Fear Losing 'Peace And Quiet' During Gathering Place Construction

Friday, September 19th 2014, 6:37 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Saturday is the big groundbreaking on the Gathering Place, the $350 million dollar park along Riverside Drive. The neighbors of the park worry the price of progress will cost them their peace and quiet.

The timeline for construction is three years, just on phase one.

Neighbors know their property values will soar when it's done, but until then, they worry about living next to a huge construction site, especially a temporary office building that is twice as big as any of their homes, and right next door.

At the Gathering Place site, there's a rush to get ready for the groundbreaking, but it's nothing compared to the job that's just ahead - massive dirt work and road repairs through the park.

9/16/2014 Related Story: Thousands Expected For Tulsa's Gathering Place Ground Breaking

Alongside all the upcoming construction is a quiet street, Boston Place, which runs along the eastern edge.

Where the park and neighborhood meet on a lot sized for a house, Manhattan Construction plans to build a 7,000 square foot temporary office. Neighbors like Millie York don't want it there.

“The big giant building does not fit in with the neighborhood, when you're in a neighborhood, all the buildings should conform somewhat, that's not a commercial lot, it's single family,” York said.

The city requires a zoning exception for the building, and the neighbors hope to influence the plans during the process.

They know the noise and the mess of construction is inevitable.

They want the building moved elsewhere, and they don't want more cars on their street.

"There's a lot land available. We've got apartments across the way being torn down, that would be a great place for this temporary building,” neighbor Casey Robinson said.

Gathering Place Parking

The apartments will be torn down, but the scope of construction means even that doesn't create as much room as the developers need, according to project manager, Jeff Stava.

"We felt like that building would block the sound and noise and put the back of construction up against the neighborhood and that's why we recommended that,” Stava said.

He said they're considering changes to make the building look better, but he thinks the neighborhood would be worse off without it.

The neighbors know they'll have to sacrifice, while recognizing once it's done they'll have a spectacular view.

The board of adjustment hears the case Tuesday.

The changes start in the morning when thousands of people arrive for the groundbreaking at noon and the celebration starting from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.