Tulsa's Woodward Park Gets A Makeover To Fight Erosion

Wednesday, July 6th 2011, 4:35 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa's Woodward Park is getting a makeover, but much of the work will be done underground.

The city is improving the park's drainage to help stop erosion.

You look at Woodward Park, and things seem to be fine. But behind the scenes, the park is slowly eroding away.

Heavy equipment and hand held rakes have descended on Tulsa's crown jewel. You could say Woodward Park is going under the knife.

Tulsa city horticulturist Maureen Turner shows why the park needs a makeover: sink holes.

"This is a new sink hole to us," Turner said.

"This is what's happening, and nature is taking over, it's going to regrade that slope if we don't do something about it."

Turner says berms built on the level above the azalea bed in 2006 were not done very well and have been contributing to erosion. That's made it unsafe for residents, creating sink holes and causing the large rocks to become unstable.

One tree actually died when its roots became exposed as the water rushed through and took the soil with it.

The work is expected to take about six weeks. Crews will be removing and then replacing the azaleas.

They've also cut down nine trees.

"Well, the trees that were taken out were in danger of falling, for the most part, some of them were leaning," said Bryan Young with Tulsa Public Works.

Those trees will be replaced with 15 large oaks and a number of ornamental trees, such as Redbuds and Dogwoods.

"So for us to be able to do something and do it right, we had to take the trees out," Young said.

The project costs $200,000, but many of the new trees have been donated. The park hasn't seen this kind of work since the 1960s.

City officials say the goal is improve drainage to help protect one of Tulsa's most beautiful parks.

"I think that when it's all said and done it's going to be absolutely spectacular, and it's going to look 10 times better than it has in a long time," said Maureen Turner, city horticulturist.

While the heavy work will take close to six weeks, crews will be back out here in the fall and into December to plant more trees and other plants. They say residents will be able to see the finished product by next summer.