MOORE — An amphitheater for outdoor concerts, an aquatic center, a farmers market and a 52,000-square-foot recreation center will be among the attractions at Central Park, scheduled to open in Moore in the fall of 2015.
“We thought it could be a game changer for Moore, and I still believe that, and we all believe that,” said Todd Jenson, director of parks and recreation.
“You can do so many kinds of things, it’s just phenomenal, and that’s something that we’ve never had the opportunity to do before.”
Jenson said the idea for the park came about in late 2011 as part of the parks master plan, PATH 2022. He said he proposed to the city council and parks board a “regional destination kind of park in the central area of town.”
Funding for the park to the tune of $25.1 million was secured by a referendum Moore voters approved in November 2012.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 9, and on June 2, city council members awarded a $19.14 million contract to Atlas General Contractors. The park will be near SE 4 and Broadway on 50 acres the city bought last year for about $1.6 million.
Jenson said it will be a first for Moore to have “all these kinds of entertainment venues in one location, where you can start out your day in one facility, and as things occur throughout the day you can go to those and not leave the property.”
The park will feature the Oklahoma Strong Monument, which has been described by the organization planning the monument as “not a memorial to the tornado; instead it is designed to be a monumental celebration of community and strength.”
Moore city council members approved allotting a portion of the park site for the monument, but the $3 million needed to fund the project will come from private donors.
Becky Boyd Wood, chairwoman of the Oklahoma Strong project, said the organization will soon start fundraising campaigns with corporations, and also will be looking at more grassroots efforts to reach the $3 million goal.
Wood said she considers the project the property of the entire state, and hopes its creation will bring people who might not have visited the park otherwise.
Jenson said he expects construction to start in August, and the contractor estimated the park will be finished in 62 weeks.
“We’re really excited about the park, I mean speaking for me and our staff obviously,” he said. “It’s just one of those things that you have ideas about it three years ago now almost, and then to see it actually happen, it’s just really phenomenal.”