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Gathering Place Chosen as Best New Attraction in America

Gathering Place

USA Today has named the Gathering Place America’s best new attraction of 2018.

The $465 million dollar, 66.5 acre first phase of the park beat out 19  other attractions nominated by a panel of experts in a monthlong national poll. Mayor G.T. Bynum said the Gathering Place is more than a source of pride for Tulsa.

"What makes it so special to our community is that this has very quickly — in just 130-plus days — become a place where all Tulsans feel like they can come together," Bynum said. "Regardless of who they’re going to vote for for president or regardless of where they work during the day or where their kids go to school or what part of town they live in, we can all come here together and enjoy this remarkable place first and foremost as Tulsans."

The Gathering Place bested attractions like theme parks, museums and a Kentucky bourbon distillery. Bynum and Park Director Tony Moore saidthe Gathering Place beat nominees in cities like Indianapolis, Orlando and Chicago because it had support from across Oklahoma.

"As a city, our sights should not be on competing with our neighbors in the suburbs or with Oklahoma City, but in working with our neighbors, working with Oklahoma City, to compete with cities like New York and Chicago and so many of the other world-class cities that were competitive in this," Bynum said.

Moore said he’d like to see the Gathering Place bring more visitors the state as a whole and will work with VisitTulsa to make that happen.

"There’s a lot of world-class attractions here, and we want to invite folks to come down and visit us and, ultimately, team with Oklahoma as a state, with our sister park opening up the road, and just really let folks know — look, tourism, I think, is the third-largest industry here in the state, and we certainly want to grow it," Moore said.

Oklahoma City’s Scissortail Park is set to partially open this year.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.