It's time to talk about the MAPS 3 park.
Oklahoma City officials and consultants are hosting a meeting this week to get ideas from the public on the park, which will extend south from the downtown core across Interstate 40 to the north shore of the Oklahoma River. The meeting is set for 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave.
Consultants from Hargreaves Associates will lead the meeting. Hargreaves, which has extensive international experience in public park design, is the group hired by the city to come up with the park's master plan.
This is the first of a series of at least three meetings expected to be held to gather public input about the park.
“That was one of the reasons we hired them, their public outreach process,” Oklahoma City's MAPS program director David Todd said of Hargreaves. “They do this a lot.”
The 70-acre park, a centerpiece element of the MAPS 3 ballot presented to Oklahoma City voters, is expected to cost about $132 million. The size and cost make it the most ambitious city green space project in Oklahoma history.
Forty acres of the park will extend south of the MAPS 3 convention center to the new I-40, and the Skydance Bridge will connect the upper portion to the 30-acre southern portion. Property acquisition is nearly complete for the northern section, and construction is expected to begin next year.
Guidelines for what could eventually be part of the park include almost anything one could imagine to be inside a grand municipal green space: everything from open fields to pickup sports facilities, a dog park, a concert venue and space for art exhibitions.
Questions and answers
Thursday's meeting will involve interaction between Oklahoma City residents and the people charged with designing it.
“It's an opportunity for the public to meet with the park designers and talk about what they think should happen with the park,” Todd said.
The meeting will start with a presentation on urban park design, said Jacob Petersen, the lead Hargreaves consultant on the project. There will also be a survey distributed for people to let planners know what they are most interested in.
“Often on these large parks, there's such a significantly large wish list,” Petersen said. “Part of our job is to sort through that wish list and really make sure we're covering the broader public priorities.”
Hargreaves will spend the next six weeks developing frameworks for three distinct development plans for the park to be vetted at the next public meeting. A third meeting before Christmas will follow, and by then a more definitive plan for the park will be taking shape.