Downtown park plans drawing opposition

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Plans for renovating a park in downtown Oklahoma City continue to spark controversy. The multi-million dollar remodel will take place at Bicentennial Park between City Hall and the downtown Civic Center.

Supporters say a remodeled park would be much more user friendly, but some city leaders say it’s a waste of taxpayer money and tarnishes the city’s history.

Right now the park has several statues and trees, but not a lot of people.

“We rarely see people utilize the park,” OKC councilman David Greenwell said.

Greenwell fully supports the multi-million dollar park makeover at Bicentennial.

“It’s going to be much more open and inviting. I think we’ll see usage go up dramatically,” Greenwell said.

“These are changes that will make the park more useable,” OKC public works director Eric Wenger said.

“I just don’t like that plan very well,” OKC councilman Pete White said.

White has several concerns; for one, all the old trees in the park will have to be torn out and replaced.

The statues of city pioneers Stanley Draper and Wiley Post will end up in boxes with no new homes for the time being.

“We could’ve preserved the historical content of the park much better,” White said.

“The intent is to find homes for those pieces as soon as practical,” Wenger said.

Wenger still believes with a new fountain and several rows of new trees, the remodeled Bicentennial Park will be something of which the public is proud.

The city council will vote on the proposed plans next week.

The remodeled park is being paid for with Project 180 money. 

That’s tax money raised by the construction of the Devon Tower.

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