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Sneak peek at plans for MAPS3 downtown park

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OKLAHOMA CITY - It's one of the crown jewels of the MAPS3 projects.

We're getting a sneak peek at the $130 million central park.

The 70 acre downtown park will be built over three phases starting later this year.

It's not much to look at now, merely some trash and empty fields, but there are some lofty goals for the future park.

"Think about this as a park for everyone. It's a common ground.  The spirit of the city," said project architect Mary Margaret Jones.

Phase one, slated to start this year, will include a plaza and gardens, eventually with a fountain and cafe.

Just to the south, a stage and great lawn, capable of holding 20,000 people, will be built.

Phase two features a three-acre lake surrounded by wooded walking trails.

Phase three, 30 acres south of I-40, will be more rural with native wetlands and prairie.

It'll then all be connected by a large walkable promenade.

"We want this to feel like Oklahoma City," Jones said. "One that has a landscape very much of Oklahoma."

Nearly all the property in the 40-acre upper park has already been bought by the city.

The owner of one of the few businesses in the area hopes the three phases will allow the parks design to transform over time.

"Create the park but don't overdevelop it; let it evolve as needed," business owner Mike Bailey said.

A public meeting is set for Thursday night at the downtown library.

That's the last meeting for the public to give their feedback.

Construction will begin this year and phase one should be open by next year but the total project won't be complete until 2020.