EDMOND — Former Edmond Mayor Carl Reherman said having a new park at Arcadia Lake named in his honor gave him the strength to survive before his 2007 liver transplant.
“It was a wonderful gift and made everything better,” Reherman said during groundbreaking ceremonies for Carl Reherman Park.
Reherman was diagnosed with chronic liver illness in 2006 and was told he had less than three years to live.
He went into a coma in May 2006 while visiting his sister in Kansas City, Mo., who was ill with cancer.
For 3½ days, Reherman lay in a coma and seven of his bodily functions failed. Doctors told his wife, Gloria, there was probably nothing they could do for him. But after 10 days, he was well enough to return to Oklahoma City.
He received a new liver on June 9, 2007.
Tuesday's ceremony in the red mud of Arcadia Lake, with more than 70 people present, was emotional for Reherman, who was surrounded by his wife, three children and six of his seven grandchildren.
“Today means history, a celebration,” Gloria Reherman said. “All the girls can return and be married at the park named after their grandpa. It is darned exciting.
“Every time you're going down I-35 and see a sign about Carl Reherman Park, it will be thrilling.”
Gloria Reherman said having the park named after him is the highlight of her husband's life.
“Before his liver transplant, naming the park after him gave him so much life,” Gloria Reherman said. “This is overwhelming.”
Carl Reherman served five terms as mayor and was instrumental in the city's partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create Arcadia Lake during the 1980s. He brought to the groundbreaking a hard hat that was given to him when the lake was being built.
“The fact that we are here at this groundbreaking for Carl Reherman Park at Arcadia Lake is so fitting for the man who spent so much of himself and his service as mayor bringing this lake to life and serving Edmond citizens with water supply and recreation opportunities,” said Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb.
Carl Reherman Park will be the fifth park at Arcadia Lake. This is the first new park to be added at the lake since it opened in the 1980s.
The new area will be a day park on the south end of the lake with picnic spots, a fishing pier, boat ramp and parking. It will be constructed in phases, said Craig Dishman, the city's parks and recreation director.