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Downtown Oklahoma City park moves forward with MAPS 3 board vote

The MAPS 3 Citizen Advisory Board approved project requirements Thursday for the Core to Shore urban park. The 70-acre urban park will extend from the south side of downtown to the shore of the Oklahoma River.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Published: May 25, 2012

The MAPS 3 Citizen Advisory Board approved project requirements Thursday that leave no doubt the Core to Shore park is the most ambitious urban green space endeavor in the state.

The term requirements is slightly misleading, because the 17-page document must be approved by the City Council and serves only as a starting point for more public involvement down the line. But the MAPS 3 parks subcommittee spent months talking to stakeholders, city residents and consultants and created the framework for the massive project that shows what people have expressed the most interest in.

The 70-acre park, which will stretch from the south end of downtown to the Oklahoma River in upper and lower sections joined by the Skydance Bridge, also is intended to spur private development along its edges in what is currently a blighted swath of the urban core.

Sports, concerts and dogs

The ideas for amenities in the park include something for just about everyone, and parks subcommittee chairman Kimberly Lowe said the hope is everyone finds a reason to go to and love the park.

“I get goose bumps thinking about my grandchildren and hopefully my great-grandchildren going to the park,” Lowe said during a bus tour of the park site for board members.

The document calls for a large space that could serve as a concert venue or just an open area for leisure activity, plus bodies of water. An off-leash dog park, boardwalk beer garden, facilities for pickup sports, trails, extensive landscaping, concessions, an events center, paddle boats, a par-3 golf course, formal gardens and restaurants are items on a long list of things the committee says people would like to see in the park.

If that seems like a lot, it is — but the sprawling park should have room for all of that and more, officials said.

Space and infrastructure for events such as the Festival of the Arts, flower markets and art exhibitions are also on the list of desires, along with simple pleasures like a place to sit in the shade and watch people go by in a pretty and natural setting.

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