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OKC Central: Big dreams flow for Oklahoma River projects

Steve Lackmeyer: Imagine a boardwalk once again lining the Oklahoma River, replacing the rock riprap placed by the Corp of Engineers a half century ago. Imagine restaurants and hotels adding to the mix of exciting amenities already along the river banks.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: March 26, 2013

The Chesapeake Finish-line Tower created a grand viewing stand for rowing and boating events. And two more boathouses, one for the University of Central Oklahoma and another for the University of Oklahoma, are in final planning stages.

Add to this mix the SandRidge Pavilion, nearing completion, which will add zip line, ropes courses and huge slide to the riverside attractions. An elaborate playground, meanwhile, is nearby thanks to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Oklahoma.

MAPS 3 venues, including a viewing grandstand, night time lighting and a white water rapids course, will turn the Regatta Park area at Lincoln Boulevard into what Smith sees as a 21st century Delmar Gardens.

He might be right. So what's next for this vision? Consider that a few years ago, developer Grant Humphreys bought the Santa Monica pier Ferris wheel to be incorporated into a mixed-use development at the old Downtown Airpark along the south shore of the river west of Western Avenue.

That development has yet to take place as planned, and the Ferris wheel remains in storage.

But what if the Ferris wheel, which lights up at night, were to be added to the mix at Regatta Park? Add the eye-catching former landmark to the mix at Regatta Park, and the city might have an irresistible draw for motorists on nearby Interstates 35 and 40 to stop and check out a river that was once an embarrassment to the city.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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