The $132 million park is one of eight major MAPS 3 projects. The first phase will be along the future downtown boulevard and a linkage to the SkyDance Bridge spanning Interstate 40. It’s scheduled to be completed in 2014, said Mary Margaret Jones, an architect with park consultant Hargreaves Associates.
The park is divided into a 40-acre upper park north of I-40 and a 30-acre southern section between the interstate and the Oklahoma River.
The draft master plan is a synthesis of elements found in three designs presented to the public in October, including a circular 6.2-acre grand lawn in the north section, a moderately sized lake to the south, a distribution of activities and programming throughout both sections. Trail spurs will connect to surrounding neighborhoods.
The city and consultants sought out public input on ideas for the park and were overwhelmed by the quantity of responses, Jones said. She said there were numerous suggestions regarding nature trails, public art and incorporation of sustainable elements.
The so-called “100 percent corner” in the park’s northeast section facing Chesapeake Energy Arena is one of the most heavily programmed areas, according to Jones. Features will include a plaza, an urban gardens, an interactive fountain, a café, an event lawn, a promontory overlooking the lawn and an event stage.
The lawn likely will be used for large-scale events capable of accommodating up to 20,000 people. Also in the north section will be paddle boat rentals and other entertainment venues.
The park’s south area is likely to have a discovery trail that eventually connects to both Manuel Perez Park and the Oklahoma River.
The historic Oklahoma City Union Depot will also remain a prominent feature in the park.
“It’s big, and there’s a lot of space in it, and there are a lot of issues, not all of which are resolved,” Jones said. “But it’s an opportunity we want to make sure is not lost.”
She said the continued cost of operating and maintaining the park has not yet been determined. Hargreaves Associates are looking at a multitude of ways to fund ongoing care and oversight.
“At this point, we’re just trying to get the general concept right,” Jones said.
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