Bixby's Charlie Young Park is undergoing major revitalization. In the process, crews have removed two major park staples - the gorilla statue and gazebo.
A Facebook post about the gorilla has a lot of people asking questions about what will happen to the items. Some fear they'll be destroyed, but city representatives say that won't happen.
The Charley Young Park, as children and family have known it, is forever changing; crews are working to turn it into something more.
"I'm excited about it,” said Bixby Flower Pot owner, Sue Perez. “I think that the plan they have is real family oriented and will expand the use of the park, and it looks to be exciting to me."
It's happening thanks to plans under the Vision 2025 package, and business owners are excited.
Perez said, “The more foot traffic and drive through traffic we can get is always better for us, and there have been other communities that seem to have done it that has been quite successful."
To begin the revitalization process, the crews started with demolition - removing a gorilla statue, gazebo and memorial plaques.
For outsiders, removing the gorilla isn't a big deal, but for long-time Bixby residents, it is.
"It's so iconic with the gazebo and gorilla, and everybody knows about it,” Perez said.
Dozens of commenters chimed in on Facebook, concerned about the gorilla's whereabouts. Many commenters reflected on visiting the gorilla as children and now taking their children.
That bit of nostalgia is gone, but not forever.
In a statement the City says: “The Gorilla statue, Gazebo structure, and playground equipment that...is being stored for safekeeping at a City facility and will at the appropriate time be relocated to Lake Bixhoma.”
Perez said, "Once they start putting things in, I think everybody will get excited about it."
The park revitalization is expected to be finished by 2017.
Although some of the removed park items will go to Bixhoma Lake, the city will reinstall the memorial plaques at the park.