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  1. #1

    Northwest OKC Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Renovation and new fitness programs planned for Lake Hefner Boathouse

    OKC RIVERSPORT is seeking to greatly enhance the historic Lake Hefner Boathouse as part of a push to increase recreation programs at the lake.



    Plans by AHMM Architects show reinventing the existing harbourmaster's building at 4407 S. Lake Hefner Drive for water sports and shore-side fitness activities.





    Within a few weeks, RIVERSPORT will offer kayak and stand up paddle board rentals at Lake Hefner, along with sailing lessons and camps, with the larger plan to be implemented later.

    The improved facility would feature large doors opening to the lake, an expansive roof terrace and observation deck with a new bar.

    At the adjacent marina, plans include boat, kayak and stand-up paddling rental, bicycle rental, a food and merchandise concession and meeting facilities.

    RIVERSPORT manages similar programs on the Oklahoma River and Lake Overholser.

    The Hefner project is near the existing Lake Hefner bike and pedestrian trails, which will soon tie into the new MAPS 3 Will Rogers Trail and allow for access south to the Oklahoma River trail system.

    RIVERSPORT is currently seeking capital partners and pursuing general fund-raising.





  2. #2

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Great for the area. I think it would be cool if they did a little outdoor beach type workout area like you'd see in California.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    That's great. I'm at Hefner rather frequently and didn't know this boathouse existed.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Do they currently do bike rentals at Hefner, or just at Overholser and the river

  5. #5

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    No.

    RIVERSPORT currently offers kayak and stand up paddle board rentals at Lake Hefner, along with sailing lessons and camps.

  6. #6
    2Lanez Guest

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Very cool. Interesting that they chose AHMM for this.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    isn't that a police building right now?

  8. Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Excited for this! I've always thought Hefner has been somewhat underutilized/under-promoted and this will help make it a bigger recreation destination for OKC. I wish they would change the no swimming rule and bring in a bunch of sand to make a beach out of one of the park areas. A beach with a bunch of sand volleyball courts and some kind of food/bar shack would kill it out there, especially with this development and the east wharf restaurants nearby.

  9. Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Quote Originally Posted by OkieHornet View Post
    isn't that a police building right now?
    Yes, but RiverSport also uses it.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Nice! I used to ride my bike thru that area several times a week. In fact, the only major crash I've had as an adult was on a little dirt road about 100 yards south of that building. It circles back on itself and the ground looked drier than it really was. Going around the circle, my tire dug into the wet sand and I was on the ground before I even knew I was in trouble. That one hurt.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    That would be a great use of the building. With the stall rental functions being online now it's only use is a small police presence and police storage. I haven't had a boat on the lake for a couple of years but back then the officers said the city was looking at closing the office there and having regular patrol officers cruise by regularly. That's how Overholser has been for years.

    On a slightly different note. I was a participating member, officer even, in the LHBOA when we had sailboats. I noticed that their clubhouse is GONE! I know it wasn't in the best shape and I'm pretty sure participation dropped off dramatically the last few years but it still suprised me.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    It's great to remodel this building, I hope construction doesn't stall kayak rentals this summer. Riversports has been operating heir for at least a year, and it is sooooo much better to kayak and SUP on Hefner than the river or nasty boring Overholser, where it takes paddling a mile through the trench to even get to stinchcomb.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Quote Originally Posted by PhiAlpha View Post
    Excited for this! I've always thought Hefner has been somewhat underutilized/under-promoted and this will help make it a bigger recreation destination for OKC. I wish they would change the no swimming rule and bring in a bunch of sand to make a beach out of one of the park areas. A beach with a bunch of sand volleyball courts and some kind of food/bar shack would kill it out there, especially with this development and the east wharf restaurants nearby.
    Agreed! Has Hefner always been no swimming or was there a time it was allowed?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    I can remember back to the early 60s and it has been no swimming since then. So I would guess it always has.

  15. Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    I'm in my late 60's. My parents also grew up in Oklahoma City, both being born before 1920. I don't remember either parent ever talking about swimming in Lake Hefner. My mother used to talk about taking the streetcar up Classen to Belle Isle Lake to swim. I went fishing with my Dad at Lake Hefner when I was a youngster (back in the 1950's) and he never mentioned swimming in the lake.

    However, I would love to see a beach with swimming at Lake Hefner, if the water purification department approved and we had assurances that none of the lake-borne illnesses besetting some of Oklahoma's lakes & ponds would not likely ever be a threat to any swimmers. Also, if the cost to the city for insurance is within reason, or, if the city decided to self-insure, the possibility of accidents would not be too big a risk. We maintain a lot of public pools, including the Foster Pool indoor facility (where I swim several times a year), so city park management has a lot of experience.

    Does anyone know if Lake Thunderbird or Lake Stanley Draper allows swimming? Do any other cities' water supply lakes allow swimming? What are their experiences?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH_in_OKC View Post
    and we had assurances that none of the lake-borne illnesses besetting some of Oklahoma's lakes & ponds would not likely ever be a threat to any swimmers.
    Can you expound on these illnesses in our lakes? This is the first I've heard of it.

  17. Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Can you expound on these illnesses in our lakes? This is the first I've heard of it.
    I believe several Oklahomans have died in the last 5 years of blue-green algae in Oklahoma's lakes & ponds.

    From Newschannel 4:
    Health officials: Oklahoman dies from amoeba after swimming in lake

    http://kfor.com/2015/08/12/health-of...mming-in-lake/

    Also from Newschannel 4:

    Oklahoma family warning others after daughter dies from ‘brain eating amoeba’

    http://kfor.com/2016/06/10/oklahoma-...eating-amoeba/

    and from the Oklahoma Department of Health:
    Potential for Human Illness Associated with Blue-green Algae Blooms in Oklahoma Lakes
    https://www.ok.gov/health/Disease,_P...een_Algae.html

  18. #18

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH_in_OKC View Post
    Does anyone know if Lake Thunderbird or Lake Stanley Draper allows swimming? Do any other cities' water supply lakes allow swimming? What are their experiences?
    I'm not sure about Draper, but I know without a doubt that Thunderbird has swimming areas. There are two swimming beaches.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH_in_OKC View Post
    I'm in my late 60's. My parents also grew up in Oklahoma City, both being born before 1920. I don't remember either parent ever talking about swimming in Lake Hefner. My mother used to talk about taking the streetcar up Classen to Belle Isle Lake to swim. I went fishing with my Dad at Lake Hefner when I was a youngster (back in the 1950's) and he never mentioned swimming in the lake.

    However, I would love to see a beach with swimming at Lake Hefner, if the water purification department approved and we had assurances that none of the lake-borne illnesses besetting some of Oklahoma's lakes & ponds would not likely ever be a threat to any swimmers. Also, if the cost to the city for insurance is within reason, or, if the city decided to self-insure, the possibility of accidents would not be too big a risk. We maintain a lot of public pools, including the Foster Pool indoor facility (where I swim several times a year), so city park management has a lot of experience.

    Does anyone know if Lake Thunderbird or Lake Stanley Draper allows swimming? Do any other cities' water supply lakes allow swimming? What are their experiences?
    Hefner was not built till 1947, so if you do not remember it being an option when you were young, it probably was not ever

  20. #20

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Pretty sure swimming has never been allowed at Hefner.

    However, they do have the Redman Triathlon at the lake and they do allow swimming then.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    I've never really understood the "don't get in the water" rules on OKC lakes. You can ski at Draper. Skiing requires getting in the water. On Overholser you can "jet ski". You'll never see anyone doing that and not spending time in the water. At Hefner you can sail small boats and kite sail, etc. Again, can't be done without spending time in the water. What difference would swimming make. BTW, all the allowed activities are more dangerous than swimming for liability purposes.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Redman Tri notwithstanding, no swimming allowed at Hefner, Overholser or Draper.

    https://www.okc.gov/departments/park...ishing/boating

  23. Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerSoftail View Post
    I've never really understood the "don't get in the water" rules on OKC lakes. You can ski at Draper. Skiing requires getting in the water. On Overholser you can "jet ski". You'll never see anyone doing that and not spending time in the water. At Hefner you can sail small boats and kite sail, etc. Again, can't be done without spending time in the water. What difference would swimming make. BTW, all the allowed activities are more dangerous than swimming for liability purposes.
    Maybe 40 people vs many hundreds if they had a beach. Could be a liability issue for all i know with those numbers.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Quote Originally Posted by PhiAlpha View Post
    Excited for this! I've always thought Hefner has been somewhat underutilized/under-promoted and this will help make it a bigger recreation destination for OKC. I wish they would change the no swimming rule and bring in a bunch of sand to make a beach out of one of the park areas. A beach with a bunch of sand volleyball courts and some kind of food/bar shack would kill it out there, especially with this development and the east wharf restaurants nearby.
    Putting in a lot of sand volleyball courts out there would be awesome. I hadn't ever thought about it before, but I know the ones in Tulsa that REI is displacing are very busy.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH_in_OKC View Post
    I'm in my late 60's. My parents also grew up in Oklahoma City, both being born before 1920. I don't remember either parent ever talking about swimming in Lake Hefner. My mother used to talk about taking the streetcar up Classen to Belle Isle Lake to swim. I went fishing with my Dad at Lake Hefner when I was a youngster (back in the 1950's) and he never mentioned swimming in the lake.

    However, I would love to see a beach with swimming at Lake Hefner, if the water purification department approved and we had assurances that none of the lake-borne illnesses besetting some of Oklahoma's lakes & ponds would not likely ever be a threat to any swimmers. Also, if the cost to the city for insurance is within reason, or, if the city decided to self-insure, the possibility of accidents would not be too big a risk. We maintain a lot of public pools, including the Foster Pool indoor facility (where I swim several times a year), so city park management has a lot of experience.

    Does anyone know if Lake Thunderbird or Lake Stanley Draper allows swimming? Do any other cities' water supply lakes allow swimming? What are their experiences?
    Lake Arcadia in Edmond allows swimming. None of the drinking water lakes in the Tulsa area allows swimming, though. I was shocked the first time I went to Arcadia, then I looked at the run of area and I assume they figure a little pee can't be worse.

    Really, I think the no swimming policies are all just for the yuck factor. I don't think that is a good enough reason to deny the recreational benefits of opening the lakes. I mean how many people in Edmond or Norman really think "Hey, this water might have some human pee in it." I'm personally much more concerned about drinking all chemical runoff from the Penn Square area parking lots.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Lake Hefner Boathouse

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerSoftail View Post
    I've never really understood the "don't get in the water" rules on OKC lakes. You can ski at Draper. Skiing requires getting in the water. On Overholser you can "jet ski". You'll never see anyone doing that and not spending time in the water. At Hefner you can sail small boats and kite sail, etc. Again, can't be done without spending time in the water. What difference would swimming make. BTW, all the allowed activities are more dangerous than swimming for liability purposes.
    Lake Hefner is a fairly small lake smack in the middle of a metropolitan area. I seems like if you started opening it up for swimming then so many people would show up that it would look like the River Ganges in no time. There might be a bit of a liability issue as well. The kiteboarders are kind of daredevils and realize that they're on their own if they get in trouble. I have a sailboat out there and I accept the fact that if I have an emergency and call 911 I shouldn't expect help to arrive any time soon unless lake patrol just happens to be on the water at the time. I have seen other boaters give assistance to kayakers and other boaters in trouble though. If thousands of swimmers started showing up I don't see how the city could get away with not having lifeguards and police patrolling the area.

    There's also the issue of the wildly variable water levels. What happens when the beautiful beach we build ends up being 100 yards from the water? I love the lake and I would be all for a big area with sand volleyball, swimming, cookout area, restaurants, etc... I like the idea of the boathouse getting rennovated. Many times I have been out at the docks on my boat with no one around wondering to myself "I wonder how long until this place gets abandoned?" It'll be nice to see more activity around that area.

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