New Oklahoma City park to feature boat rental, expansive playground

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A 37-acre public park is getting the go-ahead from City Council, after architects presented their preliminary report Tuesday.

"We're just excited to be at this point and moving on with it," said MAPS Program Manager David Todd. "I think it's going to be a great project."

The park will straddle Interstate 40, south of downtown. The lower portion of the park will sit south of the highway, bound by the river. The upper portion will be boxed in by Robinson, Hudson and S.W. 3rd St.

The Skydance Bridge will connect the two.

The City says it will be larger than the park at Myriad Botanical Gardens, but the two will complement one another.

"I think the park will be another one of those parks that will be transformational for downtown and for the city as a whole," said Todd. "The mayor always talks about us wanting to be a big-league city and this is another step toward that."

The park will feature four new buildings, including a cafe and a boathouse where people can rent bicycles and boats for a man-made lake.  New trails will be created, too, and an expansive playground is designed for children of all ages.

The plans also call for a large lawn space for multi-day events the city hopes will draw 250,000 people.  Farmer's markets and food trucks also have space, according to the blueprints.

"The challenge is just getting it done," Todd said. "We all want to see it getting done sooner, but like I said, everyone needs to be patient as we move along."

Architects expect the north portion of the project to be finished by 2018.  The south portion is expected to be complete in 2021.

They'll be working on installing one piece at a time, according to Todd.  The dirt work has to be done before the buildings' hardscaping and landscaping.

Currently, the taxpayer-funded project is in slightly under its proposed budget.

Read more about the park here.

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