A first draft of a master plan for a $130 million Core to Shore park suggests demolition of all remaining structures on the site other than Union Station, and construction of a cafe, lake, gardens, fountains and a grand lawn.
Mary Margaret Jones, project architect with Hargreaves Associates, said the master plan was developed after going through citizen comments made on several possible designs presented to the public in October.
The park, part of the $777 million MAPS 3 initiative passed by voters in 2009, will span an area bordered by the future downtown boulevard, Robinson and Hudson avenues, and the new Interstate 40. A second section of the park will continue south of the highway and narrow to a stretch between Harvey and Robinson avenues.
The area, which is between the Central Business District and the Oklahoma River, was dubbed Core to Shore by the city in 2006.
The proposed master plan by Hargreaves Associates, not yet finalized, calls for the north half of the park to include a grand lawn that can host 20,000 people, a cafe, a lake and gardens. The south half would include a discovery walk with a fitness area, sculptures, sports facilities, a dog run, prairie and wetlands.
The park is one block south of the revamped Myriad Gardens and duplicates several attractions at the park. Jones noted the Myriad Gardens is smaller than the proposed park and will draw different visitors.
She noted the grand lawn at the proposed park will be 6.4 acres compared to the lawn at the Myriad Gardens, which is just under one acre. The largest outdoor venue in the city, the Zoo Amphitheater, can host up to 10,000 people, she said. The new grand lawn also will accommodate informal soccer and other sports.
Jones said the lake at the new park will be large enough to accommodate paddle boats.
“Being a large park, being 70 acres, it can create a whole different kind of use and landscape,” Jones said. “That makes it very different than the Myriad Gardens.”
Jones said the cafe, which she said likely will cost more than $1 million, isn't comparable to a restaurant built at the Myriad Gardens, which has gone empty with repeated failed attempts to attract an operator.
The Myriad Gardens restaurant was designed for “white linen table” fine dining without any operators chosen before it was built and despite warnings by local restaurant owners that the Myriad Gardens couldn't support an upscale eatery.
Meeting set for today
A preliminary master plan for the MAPS 3 Core to Shore park will be presented and Phase 1 improvements will be discussed during a community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the fourth floor auditorium of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave.