NORMAN — City council members are close to awarding a contract for construction of Legacy Park but are still debating which amenities to fund.
The large, public park in the University North Park Addition is expected to be the focal point of the retail portion of the district, which is east of Interstate 35 on 24th Avenue NW, between Robinson Street and Tecumseh Road.
Much of the park's design is a given. It will be built on about eight acres and feature a one-acre, man-made pond with fountains, decorative lighting and an amphitheater. A decorative railing and walkway will encircle the pond. Two pads at points on the pond will be reserved for restaurants.
The park also will feature walking paths that connect to Legacy Trail, landscaping, public art, restrooms and parking.
CGC of Edmond has submitted the low bid for the project, with a base bid of $5.5 million, and a bid of $7,020,900 that includes a list of optional amenities.
Among the options proposed are cascading water features on the pond's south end, additional sidewalks and lighting along the walking trails, benches, green pedestrian portals, a stage railing, stage floor light fixtures and landscaping that includes a hiking trail around a nearby detention pond.
Parks Director Jud Foster said about $8 million is available for the park's construction, with an additional $1.5 million to be set aside for public art pieces.
Council members discussed which optional amenities they wanted at a conference on Tuesday. They were divided mainly on whether to fund landscaping and a paved hiking path around the detention pond.
Councilman Tom Kovach said the detention pond is not part of the park and shouldn't be enhanced with public money.
The detention pond is just across from the park and will attract walkers, whether it is landscaped or not, Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said.
“People are going to associate the detention pond with the park. There's not going to be a perception that it's separate. I think it is in our best interest to put in the landscaping and walkway, or risk it being an eyesore,” Rosenthal said.
Councilman Greg Jungman said landscaping the detention pond seemed essential to him “so it doesn't look like we dropped a $7 million park into a wheat field.”
Councilman Roger Gallagher questioned the need for additional lighting, especially if the park has an evening curfew.
Gallagher said the list of alternate amenities was long enough that he needed more time to consider the options.
“Just because we have the money doesn't mean we have to spend it,” said Kovach, who said he would rather put more money into the actual park than spend any on land around the detention pond.
The council will be asked to approve a construction contract at an upcoming meeting. However, Foster said the council will have to agree on which optional amenities they want before the contract can be prepared.
Once a contract is awarded, construction would start within about a month. Completion of the park could take anywhere from a year to 18 months.