Downtown Oklahoma City becoming the place for outdoor adventure
In coming years, the Oklahoma River Boathouse District may join the world’s best outdoor venues.
BY ED GODFREY •
Modified: April 29, 2012 at 1:09 am •
Published: April 29, 2012
/articleid/3668801/1/pictures/1701616"> An artist’s rendering shows a zip line and ropes course planned as part of a new youth pavilion along the Oklahoma River. Image PROVIDED
In the next three years, the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma are expected to build boathouses.
More racecourse improvements are scheduled in the next three years, such as a new pneumatic starting gate system to ensure simultaneous race starts, critical during very close, very fast races.
The gates are the same as the ones to be used at the upcoming London Olympics.
The Oklahoma River will be the only venue in the country to have these gates, thus attracting more national and international races.
Other improvements planned over the next three years include more specialty lighting and more sound equipment to improve the experience for spectators.
A white water center should open in late 2014 or early 2015.
The course will be designed to accommodate recreational rafting, tubing, hydro sled, swift water rescue, slalom and freestyle kayaking.
It will be one of three courses in the United States and the only one not on the East Coast.
Among the future improvements planned for the Oklahoma River are:
• Installation of 500 meters of permanent lights along the north shore starting in May. This will make the Oklahoma River the only permanently lit rowing and kayaking course in the world, creating opportunities for year-round night time racing and events of all kinds.
• Windscreen construction is likely to begin this year. A 40-foot screen on the south shore will block prevailing wind and double as a projection screen for movies and graphics, another first-of-its-kind project in the world.
• Construction of a youth pavilion in the next two years, featuring a large gathering/expo area. It will have a completely enclosed all-glass building, classroom and concession space, and indoor surf park. Additional features planned for the area include a sky trail, 700-foot zip line, rock wall, spray ground and mountain bike trails. Construction of the sky trail will begin this summer.
• A youth adventure park also is scheduled for construction in the next three years. The proposed area will include a jumping zone, zip lines, a junior sky trail ropes course, outdoors fitness stations and a playground.