Core to Shore Plan to Include Downtown Park

Tuesday, June 9th 2009, 5:20 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City leaders are constantly looking for new ways to attract people to downtown. One idea that's likely to become a reality is a downtown central park.

The Botanical Gardens will cap off the north end of the proposed park. The city wants to extend the park all the way down to the Oklahoma River.

One Arizona family driving to the east coast couldn't resist a day out enjoying the Botanical Gardens.

"It's just gorgeous here," Oklahoma City visitor Jackie Ellis said. "So, I live in a desert so this is very green and lush; I love it."

They're even more excited to learn the city wants to build an even bigger downtown park.

"I love that you have a park right next to downtown," Oklahoma City visitor Eileen Kriter said. "I think it's wonderful for the people that work downtown."

Its part of the city's Core to Shore plan. A park stretching one-mile from Interstate 40, which will be torn down, and ending at the river.

"Replace that I-40 corridor with an at-grade boulevard then we will have the opportunity to create a world-class park that would front the boulevard and take us all the way to the river," Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said.

The mayor wants the park to be something like Millennium Park in Chicago or Centennial Park in Atlanta. He envisions underground parking spaces for at least 1,000 cars.

They'll take public input on specific features for the park and are still working on the cost. But it's likely the voters will be asked to help fund it with the next phase of the MAPS program.

"The earliest we could have an election would be in December," Mayor Cornett said. "That means the council would need to call for an election in October."

Visitors to Oklahoma City are sold on the idea.

"I think it would be a wonderful place to walk and to run and to bike and everything, so I think it would be a great idea," Kriter said.

Learn more and watch a video rendering of the Core to Shore plan.