NORMAN — City council members say they want Legacy Park to be “spectacular,” creating a regional shopping draw to boost Norman's economy.
The council recently approved spending about $521,000 to enhance fountain features in a large man-made pond that will be the centerpiece of the park. The park is under construction on 24th Avenue NW, between Robinson Street and Tecumseh Road, in the University North Park Addition.
The money is in addition to a base contract for the park's construction that is close to $6 million.
The enhancements include adding seven water cannons, 21 spray nozzles, programming capabilities and colored LED lighting to the 14 water cannons already in the base bid for Legacy Park improvements.
The council approved the enhancements June 11 by a vote of 6-3. Voting against the additional expenditure were Mayor Cindy Rosenthal and council members Greg Jungman and Roger Gallagher.
Rosenthal said she opposed the added expense because “we have an award-winning design already. I don't think we need to be lured into dancing lights. It will still be a wonderful project without it.”
‘Hasn't happened yet'
Councilman Tom Kovach said the enhancements were necessary to meet the public's expectations for the University North Park Addition.
“We've heard spectacular over and over when referring to University North Park. It hasn't happened yet. The one thing we can control to come close to spectacular is this park,” Kovach said.
The park is supposed to create a “regional draw” that will boost Norman's economy, council member Jim Griffith said.
“I do believe the promise we made to the public was spectacular. This is our opportunity to do this very, very well up front,” he said.
Councilman Chad Williams said the city needed to be willing to make an investment now so that it can reap benefits in the future.
“We have this one opportunity to do this thing right,” Williams said.
Construction on the approximately 8-acre park began this year and is expected to be complete by next summer, Parks and Recreation Director Jud Foster said.
The park will feature a man-made pond with an amphitheater, pads for restaurants fronting the pond, walking trails, benches, areas of public art and landscaping with green screen portals and arbor sections.