Boathouse District gaining amenities, events

Published Wednesday, February 19, 2020
by Cathy O'Connor

Since 2016, Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District has been drawing adventure enthusiasts, Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and those with an interest in paddlesports to the Oklahoma River. Now, the district is expanding with new amenities and events that will draw local and national crowds to the area.

The Boathouse District will play host to the 2020 International Canoe Federation Canoe Sprint Super Cup on Aug. 21 and 22. The internationally televised event will bring the best canoe sprint athletes in the world to compete in men’s and women’s kayak and canoe races, only two weeks after competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Previously held in Russia and China, this will be the first time the United States will host the event since its debut in 2018, and the first time the event will take place at night under lights. The course lighting was one of the first MAPS 3 projects to be constructed.

A new commercial development coming to the Boathouse District is Bar K. The 2-acre event space, bar, restaurant and dog park concept to be built northeast of the whitewater rafting center is slated to open early next year. The first commercial development to be approved for the district, Bar K will be open year-round and includes plans for an indoor play space for dogs.

Over Memorial Day weekend this year, Surf OKC will provide many Oklahomans their first opportunity to catch a wave. The simulated surfing experience, part of the whitewater rafting center, will include lessons for novices and a shot to ride waves right here at home. It will also provide our city the infrastructure to bring professional surfing competitions to the state in the future.

I’m looking forward to what’s to come for the Boathouse District. Combined with existing successes like the annual Oklahoma Regatta Festival, family-friendly activities at the Riversport Adventures area and special events held at the boathouses, I’m confident these new additions will prove valuable in spurring greater development along the Oklahoma River and continuing to grow the Boathouse District as an international destination.

Cathy O’Connor is the president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

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