OKC planners holding open house meetings for $154M parks plan

Planners and consultants with Oklahoma City expanded a line-up of “open house” sessions in mid-April for residents to submit feedback about a MAPS 4 plan to spend $154 million improving and expanding city parks.

The public forums are the final sessions for the first phase of the MAPS 4-budgeted “Parks Master Plan Development” project, before moving on to the second phase in May. The next part of the project will focus on prioritizing what amenities will be allocated to the city’s 105 existing community and neighborhood parks.

“We wanted to allow the public as much time as possible to submit comment,” said Kristi Pempin, vice president of marketing and client development for White Hawk Engineering & Design. “Code issues and safety issues were top priority, but the comments we get from the public will help us prioritize what other needs should be taken care of further.”

What are people saying needs to be improved at Oklahoma City parks?

Consultants held several in-person meetings at various locations from December through February for residents to offer input on several different groups of parks throughout the metro. About 200 people attended the sessions, and an estimated 1,000 comments have been left on the official website for the project. Common recommendations have emerged, including lighting improvements, playground upgrades and equipment additions.

“Some of the parks that we didn’t get much feedback for the last (sessions), we’re getting more feedback this time,” said Darron Scott, a landscape architect for Kimley-Horn And Associates. “Some of the parks have had total redo’s with their trails and fields in recent years, while some other parks haven’t had any the last 20 or 30 years.”

More:Can $154 million save Oklahoma City parks? See what is being planned

Dolphin Wharton Park is only half a mile from where the latest “open house” meeting was held Thursday evening, at the Santa Fe Life Center in northeast Oklahoma City.

Annetta Behn-Burden, former president of the Wildwood Hills-Heights Neighborhood Association, said a lot of current issues with the park could be addressed with better lighting and drainage maintenance.

“It’s a beautiful …

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