Six parks projects are dramatically expanding greenspace in this 2nd-tier US city
Tulsa is one of the birthplaces of the U.S. oil industry, where early ‘gushers’ struck black-gold, but today it is an emerging city of nearly 1 million with major corporate headquarters, new structures designed by Cesar Pelli and HOK, and a fast-growing urban park system designed in large part by SWA Group and other design firms, thanks to innovative public-private partnerships and civic determination amid the U.S. recession.
There are six projects enhancing hundreds of acres of green space in a community-wide effort to expand Tulsa’s amenities for residents and its attractions for growth companies, including a new riverfront park opening in early April.
A 3-acre riverfront park providing a city-gathering place, called 41st Street Plaza, opens in April 2009 via a donor group led by QuikTrip Corporation. SWA provided conceptual and schematic design in conjunction with Bing Thom Architects of Vancouver. LandPlan Consultants of Tulsa accomplished implementation.
The Arkansas River Corridor Study addressed long-term concepts for 10 miles of riverfront, carried out in 2007 on behalf of GKFF in association with Bing Thom Architects and Benham Engineering of Tulsa.
Other projects include The River Park Trails and Design Guidelines; the Brady Village 150-acre downtown arts district a 5-acre “town square” within Brady Village; and a City Parks effort for signature projects within its 6,000-acre park system.
“The idea is to help connect some of Tulsa’s great landmarks - the Art-Deco highrises, the new BOK Arena designed by Cesar Pelli, the HOK-designed baseball stadium under construction, the Arkansas River waterfront - with civic open space and green links of this beautiful riverfront city,” says Elizabeth Shreeve of SWA.
Key players in this effort include the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), the Tulsa Community Foundation, the City of Tulsa, River Parks Authority, QuikTrip Corporation and other organizations.