Johnson Park redevelopment plan eyed
BY World's Editorials Writers
Friday, March 01, 2013
3/01/13 at 7:07 AM
An ambitious recreational plan put forth by the private sector for the Johnson Park site on Riverside Drive is evolving. Tulsa businessman Scott Lambert proposes a privately funded multisports complex that would include rugby, soccer, football and lacrosse fields, a Frisbee golf course, basketball courts, playgrounds and a water park.
The plan was adopted by the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board in late 2011 but is currently on hold as the developer seeks to raise funding for its construction and operation.
Lambert's plan has some exciting elements and certainly could help stabilize and even rejuvenate that area of the city, which faces challenges arising out of poverty and crime.
The land would remain a city of Tulsa park. Some of the funding could be raised through tournaments and activity fees, according to Lambert.
As is the case with most ambitious proposals, this one likely will generate some controversy. There will be those who want the park to remain largely undeveloped. Some will object - in fact, some already have objected - to the particular mix of activities planned for the new development.
While it would be ideal if the city could raise enough money to build modern, popular park facilities all across town, the unfortunate fact is that there will probably never be enough money to do that. So help from the private sector and generous philanthropists will be necessary probably from now on if we want to have top-notch recreational facilities.
That is why the River Parks area has blossomed so much in recent years - thanks to the generosity of benefactors such as QuikTrip and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
We would hope that any new development at Johnson Park would be affordable for all Tulsans to enjoy, and we'd also hope the developer and parks officials would be open to discussing the particular mix of activities and uses to be included. We welcome the private sector's willingness to be involved, but after all, it is a public park.
Original Print Headline: Park plan