A park north of downtown could be getting a facelift.
The University of Oklahoma Urban Design Studio is working with the Greenwood Cultural Center to revamp B.S. Roberts Park, a roughly 15-acre green space on Greenwood Avenue, just north of Jasper Street.
A community design workshop on the project is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Langston University Tulsa, 914 N. Greenwood Ave. The park is in the middle of the area destroyed by the Tulsa Race Massacre, which will commemorate its centennial in 2021.
“North Tulsa, of course, has kind of been neglected,” said Clay Harris, a local commercial real estate agent and master student with the OU Urban Design Studio. “We thought this was an opportunity to give back to the community. It is a service project but also a learning project for us as grad students.”
The park is named after the late Rev. B.S. Roberts, who was both a spiritual leader and public servant. He led a campaign to register black voters, pushed for desegregation of Tulsa’s public places and later served two terms on the Tulsa City Council in the early 1990s.
The park has a basketball court, playground, picnic shelter and walking path that surrounds two large retention ponds, Harris said.
“There is a playground, but none of the kids seem to use it,” he said. “There are benches, but they are all placed with no shade and not really any thought given to them. And the retention ponds are huge barriers.”
The Urban Design Studio at OU-Tulsa trains urban design professionals through master’s degree programs in architecture and urban studies to advance understanding of the city through research and creative activity. It also seeks to engage in community projects benefiting Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma.
Since August, OUUDS has been gathering input from residents and stakeholders on how to best improve the park, Harris said. The design process could begin in January.
Greenwood Cultural Center, Langston and University of Tulsa-based Center for Health Art and Measurable Practices are partnering to locate funding, which also will be sought via grants, Harris said.
“The running part is really utilized, but the rest of the park is not,” he said. “Instead of it being a park for the neighborhood, it’s just kind of something you drive by and look at. We’re just trying to reactivate it and make it a place the community can come to and enjoy.”