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River Parks Authority Adopts Master Plan That Would Greatly Expand Turkey Mountain

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

River Parks Authority adopted a bold master plan this week for Turkey Mountain.

The four-phase plan would eventually help expand the area’s footprint to 1,000 acres and connect it to other city parks, but the first phase focuses on improving the existing site. Scott Streeb with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates said that includes prescribed burning to clear out overgrowth and promote a healthier forest.

"Prescribed burning needs to start soon because its effects don’t really come to full fruition for maybe six years. And so, it’s a slow start. It’s not, like, a rapid transformation," Streeb said.

Other first phase plans call for trail reconstruction, testing pond water quality and closing Elwood Avenue.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates is the same firm that designed the Gathering Place. The firm's plan for Turkey Mountain calls for things like a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Arkansas River around 61st Street, a westward expansion referred to as the hinterlands, a southern expansion with a bicycle park and sports courts, and a rock scramble feature connecting Turkey Mountain's peak to the River Parks trail.

Tulsa Community Foundation COO Jeff Stava said costs for all those things are being sorted out.

"We want to get those budgets done in time for any of the public infrastructure monies, and we want to get it included in the city’s [capital projects] budget so they have that, so when it’s time to come for the big sales tax packages, they know what the River Parks and the Turkey Mountain needs are," Stava said.

Some aspects in the plan’s first phase could be accomplished sooner with existing funds.

The Turkey Mountain master plan has been in development for some time, but its presentation to River Parks Authority was delayed by last spring's floods and the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

River Parks received more than 4,000 public comments while the master plan was being developed.

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.
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