Through a generous gift from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Tulsa’s underutilized Arkansas Riverfront will be transformed into a new “Central Park” for the city. Construction is planned to begin in 2014.
Developed in consultation with the community over the course of many meetings, the park will create strong connections to the riverfront through transformations such as a new landbridge over Riverside Drive, realigning the roadway to promote pedestrian and vehicular safety, and rehabilitating the Crow Creek corridor in order to extend the natural waterfront back into the community. A diverse and highly active waterfront park that creates opportunities for swimming and boating alongside other daily use activities will complement existing urban amenities. The park will offer a new means of connecting with urban nature, engaging all citizens, and building the type of public infrastructure that supports the educational and anti-poverty initiatives of the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
Transformations with respect to hydrology, ecology, landform and urban program will facilitate numerous experiential and physical connections within the park, between the park and the city, and between the city and the riverfront. For instance, the Tulsa waterfront contains within it two different ecological and experiential worlds that exist above and below the Zink Dam. The calm waters of Zink Lake will be extended inland into the northern portions of the park, currently known as the Blair Property. To the south of the dam, where the water runs free, the Crow Creek corridor will weave an accessible riparian pathway into the urban fabric, making the connection to the Arkansas River a unifying feature of nearby public and residential programming.
Strong potential for vastly improved connections is already embedded within the river, woodland, social, and urban environments of the city, providing a pragmatic foundation for growing a park out of existing conditions. When complete, multifunctional spaces and flexible programming will allow the park to play a vital role in the public life of Tulsa, creating diverse opportunities to gather and inspiring the exploration of new environments.
Landbridges Article in Tulsa World