Updated July 18, 7:40 a.m.
The City of Tulsa is now the proud owner of 30 undeveloped acres near 71st Street and U.S. 169, land that will eventually be combined with 27 adjacent, city-owned acres for a new park.
City Chief of Culture and Recreation and Parks Director Anna America started working toward a new park there when she was the District 7 city councilor from 2014 to 2018. She said there isn't enough access to parks and green space in the densely developed area.
"There aren't nearly as many parks, and in particular in that area, we've got a lot of apartments, thousands of people living in apartments within a 1- or 2-mile radius of that area that aren't served by parks," America said. "So this is going to be a great asset ... it's needed and will really well serve that part of town and I'm sure will end up being a regional park as well."
Current District 7 Councilor Lori Decter Wright agreed her constituents are underserved when it comes to parks and green spaces. The district also has the least tree canopy in the city, which is important for things like drainage, air quality and cooling.
"I feel strongly that my children and their children will be proud to know that we preserved that land and activated that space for the residents of certainly southeast Tulsa, but the whole area, and didn't just pave it over and put more square buildings up," Decter Wright said.
America said a perk of the land donation is the city can use part of the land for a venture that makes money to support the entire park.
"That'll open up a lot of doors, and we'll be — definitely be — evaluating options there in the hope that maybe you can generate enough revenue to develop and maintain that facility without putting additional burden on the citizens, which would be awesome," America said.
Plans and funding for a park are to be determined. There will be a public engagement process before anything happens.
The Mary K. Chapman Foundation donated the 30 acres, which are behind a Lowe’s store, through the nonprofit Land Legacy trust.
Correction: This story originally stated the land is at 71st Street at U.S. 75.