A weeklong series of planning sessions will begin Wednesday with developers seeking ideas and visions from the public for a new “community” to be built at the former Downtown Airpark along the Oklahoma River.
Blair Humphreys, who is leading development of “Wheeler,” will be hosting the public planning sessions with Victor Dover, a renowned expert on livable communities and sustainable development and author of “Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns.”
Wheeler will consist of the former airpark, on the west side of Western Avenue just south of the Oklahoma River, and 70 acres across the street on the east side of Western Avenue.
Humphreys said the planning sessions, called a “charette,” were preceded by an online survey.
“We are planning a large development that will be an important piece of the city,” Humphreys said.
“We want to do it in a way that fits the vision and aspirations of the city. It’s the city’s river and it’s a project that will be near significant parts of the city and along its parks. We want to make a long-lasting contribution to the quality of this area and the city as a whole,” Humphreys said.
Humphreys said he hopes to gather the ideas and suggestions for housing, what schooling options are sought, what civic amenities and public spaces should be provided, and how streets should be designed. He emphasized that he especially hopes to gather ideas on providing pedestrian and bicycle paths.
Citizens’ input sought
Humpheys admits that based on questions asked to date, he suspects the most popular topic will be a Ferris wheel that was once a part of the Santa Monica Pier in California that was purchased for the development several years ago.
“That is something we also will be working through,” Humphreys said. “We really hope to have as much citizen participation as possible, whether it is someone who lives near the neighborhood, is passionate about creating urbanism downtown, or envisions themselves living or opening the shop there as a future neighbor.”
If you go
Kick-off and hands-on design session:
Design studio and technical meetings: