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O’Connor: Scissortail Park will spark development
Breaking ground on the MAPS 3 park and officially naming it the Scissortail Park is a vision turned reality for many Oklahoma City residents. Oklahoma City voters approved the downtown public park as part of MAPS 3 in 2009. Since then anticipation, dreaming, planning and comprehensive efforts have brought us to this milestone.
Scissortail Park will be completed in two stages, starting first with the 40-acre upper section of the park, which stretches from the future Oklahoma City Boulevard south to Interstate 40. Scheduled completion is spring 2019.
Upper-section plans include a covered stage and a great lawn with space for 15,000 visitors, a cafe along the new Oklahoma City Boulevard, a 3½-acre lake with a boathouse for snacks and paddle boat rentals, picnic spaces, a playground, and a large-scale interactive water feature. The 30-acre lower section of the park, which spans from the south side of I-40 to almost to the Oklahoma River, is scheduled to open in 2021.
There is tremendous interest in the development around the park, and even more opportunities generated by the new convention center and hotel. The Alliance for Economic Development, city planners and city leaders have guidelines in place to ensure quality development that will support, leverage and capitalize on the investment our citizens have made in the park. The goal is the highest-quality development that will best balance a mix of retail, green space, housing, commercial development and recreation.
The Core to Shore Reinvestment Area tax increment financing district guidelines intend for the area to be a high-density and high-quality, mixed-use urban district. This will include the redevelopment of blighted and vacant property, connecting the Central Business District and Myriad Gardens south to Scissortail Park, creating opportunities for significant amounts of office and retail space and a range of new housing opportunities, from high-rise flats to single family neighborhoods.
This is an exciting time for Oklahoma City. Scissortail Park will help reshape downtown Oklahoma City’s future. We have the opportunity to define its evolution through development that benefits our citizens’ investments and creates the city we envision.
Cathy O’Connor is president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.