Central Park area integral to Core to Shore project

Published: Monday, February 9, 2009 7:00 am By: Marie Price

The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A foundational component of the Core to Shore project is to establish a public-space Central Park area, plans for which are still fluid, which would serve as a series of gathering and recreational spaces for all ages.

The future park area is bordered on the north by what is now Interstate 40, which will become a boulevard. The park area is bordered on the south by what is to be the realigned I-40 crosstown, on the west by Hudson Avenue and on the east by Robinson Avenue.

Although the overall plan calls for at least one large open space called the Great Lawn, the park is intended to provide users with a choice of activities, sight-lines and urban breathing spaces as well.

Attorney Michael Laird was a member of the Core to Shore steering committee and is a past president and current board member of the Myriad Gardens Foundation.

Laird said one of the key things he gleaned from consultants is that the park should not be just a massive green swath with little in the way of smaller enclaves or multi-use areas to move visitors along or direct them into specific areas they might enjoy.

"Nobody knows how they're supposed to behave in that environment," Laird said.

Real parks are vibrant, he said.

"They're organic things that live and breathe and they have multiple components to them," Laird said.

It's not a question of size, he added.

"It's how they work and how people use them and how people can read from the park itself how they're supposed to behave and what they're supposed to do in there," Laird said.

Oklahoma City Planning Director Russell Claus said it has not been determined exactly what will be in the park, which he described as "a placeholder for some of the ideas."

"It's more than green space," Claus said.

The city will hire a park planner at some point, who will be asked to review Myriad Gardens and potential changes there, "who we are as a community, what has worked elsewhere, what we can do here that would support what our current needs are, but projecting out into the future as to what future demands will be, really trying to create a signature piece of open space," Claus said.

There are multiple concepts behind the park, he added.

"One of them is to assist in providing a very clear connection down to the river," Claus said.

He also said it was felt that the Myriad Gardens was not fulfilling the function of a true urban open-space area, as a gathering area programmed for multiple activities, part of which will be resolved through a separate redevelopment of the Myriad Gardens.

"The Core to Shore park will provide more of those and give us a true urban open space that services the entire community," Claus said. "It is meant to operate as

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