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Gathering Place Named Best City Park In USA Today Awards

Gathering Place

The Gathering Place added another award to its trophy case on Friday: USA Today’s 2021 Best City Park.

The riverfront park beat out 19 other contenders from across the country in the outlet's 10Best reader’s choice awards.

At a news conference announcing the award, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell said the Gathering Place isn’t just a great tourist draw.

"It is a show-stopping recruitment tool. That is how I refer to it. Is a show-stopping recruitment tool. We bring companies — when we bring them into Oklahoma, this is one of the first places that we bring them now," Pinnell said.

Tulsa Regional Tourism President Ray Hoyt said the park is the kind of family-friendly outdoor space that is changing minds about northeast Oklahoma.

"In the past decade, people have called us 'beige.' Well, we’re changing that color, absolutely. We are not beige. We still have a perception problem, I think, but we’re working on that every day with places like this," Hoyt said.

The Gathering Place's latest accolade comes just before Park Director Tony Moore leaves Tulsa for Dallas.

"When we first opened, the USA Today 2019 No. 1 Attraction in America was just massive, and to close my time, my tenure here with another USA Today national award as the No. 1 city park, it’s an awesome bookend. I couldn’t have script-written that any better," Moore said.

Moore becomes president and CEO of Trinity Park Conservancy in April. Gathering Place has won more than a dozen awards since it opened in 2018, several of them national honors.

The $465 million park is still only about two-thirds complete, with several features and two more phases yet to be built.

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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