Construction begins on latest additions to Oklahoma City's Boathouse District
Fresh trench marks the planned extension of the Bricktown Canal nearly all the way to the Oklahoma River, holes in the ground indicate the location of new riverside light posts, and a crane has begun erecting a massive new ropes course in the Boathouse District of Oklahoma City
Several new recreational facilities currently being built on-site will be completed sooner, though.
A new playground, including a children's ropes course, is being built by BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, and a ropes course for adults — 80 feet tall, with six levels of challenges and a 72-foot slide — is being set up by SandRidge Energy.
A portable zip line, climbing wall, and several other activities currently set up in the district for Downtown in December will remain long after Christmas is gone, and a permanent 700-foot zip line will soon span the Oklahoma River, Yager said.
She said the urban renewal projects together mark another step in the continued push for new attractions and activities in the downtown area for both local residents and visitors.
“The Boathouse District is the future of Oklahoma City — it's where families are going to go,” she said. “It's a really busy time on the Oklahoma River.”
Elizabeth Laurent, marketing director for the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, the nonprofit that oversees facility operations on the river and in the district, said the current projects are part of a long string of developments there going back more than a decade.
In recent years, private dollars have funded the construction of the Devon and Chesapeake boathouses, training grounds for the U.S. Olympic rowing team and several collegiate programs, and the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower.
Starter gates were installed just last month for the crews that race along the river, and plans call for a white-water racing course in 2015, Laurent said.
“You don't have to be an Olympic athlete to come down here and have a good time,” she said. “We have activities for kids as young as three or four years old and have people as old as 80 come down and enjoy the river.”