Despite recent thunderstorms in Oklahoma City, mostly good weather this year has helped the Bicentennial Park reconstruction project stay on pace to finish before the Civic Center Music Hall's anniversary festivities begin after the summer.
The old version of Bicentennial Park, situated downtown between the Civic Center and City Hall, was razed weeks ago. The new version should be completed by the end of the summer, barring unexpected delays, city Public Works Director Eric Wenger said.
“We're shooting for that 75th anniversary and the grand celebration of the Civic Center Music Hall this year, and making sure it's completed before then,” Wenger said.
The Civic Center was a New Deal-era project finished in 1937, and now is a centerpiece of the growing fine arts culture in Oklahoma City. It was renovated as part of the original MAPS program in the 1990s.
Bicentennial Park was razed following a sometimes-controversial process that included removing monuments and trees that had been there for decades. Plans are in place to use those monuments elsewhere in the city, and planners say the new park will be more inviting and more useful for events.
Part of the work under way at the park now is for utilities for a fountain and electrical service, Wenger said. Outlets throughout the park will allow for events that need electricity to be held in front of the Civic Center without unsightly long cables and other temporary infrastructure, Wenger said.
“That's all a part of this project, to encourage new opportunities for the park that haven't been there for a number of years,” Wenger said.
New planting beds at the park, which appear as angled walls, are the most visible element of the new design to have been constructed so far.