View Full Version : Wheeler Park



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shawnw
10-13-2012, 01:08 AM
Oklahoma River
Recreation
Park at S Western and I-40, south of I-40, north of the river.

shawnw
10-13-2012, 01:11 AM
Couldn't find a thread dedicated to Wheeler Park, so created this one.

I was at Wheeler today and I noticed at the softball field nearest to Western, they had torn down the wooden bleachers, and had laid down concrete where there was dirt before (the old wooden bleachers were on dirt). This is the field that Classen SAS has been using for their home games (my daughter is on the team), so I don't know if that has anything to with it or not, just thought it was interesting that they are doing work here.

CaptDave
10-13-2012, 08:05 AM
I hope this park becomes part of the downtown park "network". It would serve as a great playground for kids whose parents take the leap and build or purchase a home in C2S.

shawnw
10-13-2012, 02:37 PM
Agree!

Just the facts
10-14-2012, 01:10 PM
The urban core is going to have too much park space. Just like OKCs downtown streets have the capacity to handle Chicago traffic; our park space will be enough for 100,000 downtown residents. Downtown doesn't need this much park space. Once Promenade Park is finished Wheeler Park is going to be (and rightfully should be) converted to residential landuse. I would prefer they not spend another dime on something that is going away. Spend the money on the future. Downtown park space should be sized to the number of people who can use it. Building more park capacity then can be used is the equivalent of building more road capacity than can be used.

The only way downtown is going to be sustainable is if it has proper time-diversity. As the business community leaves the downtown area residents and downtown visitors should fill in the void after 5PM and on weekends. This will ensure that businesses adjacent to the park will have a steady stream of customers from 9AM to 9PM 6 to 7 days a week. If one park only serves day time users and a different park serves evening and week residents businesses will not be able to establish themselves (one of the reason MBG has yet to attract a restaurant).

shawnw
10-15-2012, 05:24 PM
Technically Wheeler isn't downtown. Downtown's official boundaries on the South is the river and on the West is Classen. While technically Classen doesn't go to the river, if it did it would cut through Wheeler, on its current trajectory if it were to continue, Classen would cut through the less essential parts of park.

Wheeler is actually very active after 5p and on weekends, at least in the warm months, though I will say there is way too much parking.

Fantastic
10-15-2012, 05:51 PM
Technically Wheeler isn't downtown. Downtown's official boundaries on the South is the river and on the West is Classen. While technically Classen doesn't go to the river, if it did it would cut through Wheeler, on its current trajectory if it were to continue, Classen would cut through the less essential parts of park.

Wheeler is actually very active after 5p and on weekends, at least in the warm months, though I will say there is way too much parking.

According to the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma Downtown's boundaries are Western to the west, US 270 (I-40) to the south... either way you are correct. It is not TECHNICALLY located Downtown, but as our definition of what exactly "downtown" is continues to evolve, I believe that the Farmer's Market, Wheeler Park, Riverside and Hubcap Alley will all be the "Next Big Things." I have talked less about Riverside and Wheeler Park then I have Hubcap Alley and the Farmer's Market, but I see a huge ammount of potential in all these areas.

That being said, Wheeler Park has a massive amount of potential for redevelopment. It is already sports oriented, whereas Wiley Post is more playground oriented, and the MAPS 3 park will be more of a "hey that's cool let's go look at it" kind of thing. So I could see the sports aspect of Wheeler keeping it around as a park for the foreseeable future. HOWEVER... that is also ALOT of land that could be redeveloped into residental.

One important thing to note: Wheeler Park was the original location of the Oklahoma City Zoo (formerly known as the Wheeler Park Zoo) when it was founded in 1902. I don't know why I said that, I just think it's kinda cool.

shawnw
10-15-2012, 07:11 PM
The city council redefined the boundaries a couple years ago I believe. I'll need to find a source and post it. Pretty sure there was a newsok article about it.

I've stated in other threads that I would like to see Wheeler at least partially preserved for it's historical importance as our first zoo (there should be public art, and maybe a plaza of sorts dedicated to this; at the very least a historical marker)


According to the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma Downtown's boundaries are Western to the west, US 270 (I-40) to the south... either way you are correct. It is not TECHNICALLY located Downtown, but as our definition of what exactly "downtown" is continues to evolve, I believe that the Farmer's Market, Wheeler Park, Riverside and Hubcap Alley will all be the "Next Big Things." I have talked less about Riverside and Wheeler Park then I have Hubcap Alley and the Farmer's Market, but I see a huge ammount of potential in all these areas.

That being said, Wheeler Park has a massive amount of potential for redevelopment. It is already sports oriented, whereas Wiley Post is more playground oriented, and the MAPS 3 park will be more of a "hey that's cool let's go look at it" kind of thing. So I could see the sports aspect of Wheeler keeping it around as a park for the foreseeable future. HOWEVER... that is also ALOT of land that could be redeveloped into residental.

One important thing to note: Wheeler Park was the original location of the Oklahoma City Zoo (formerly known as the Wheeler Park Zoo) when it was founded in 1902. I don't know why I said that, I just think it's kinda cool.

jedicurt
10-16-2012, 11:00 AM
One important thing to note: Wheeler Park was the original location of the Oklahoma City Zoo (formerly known as the Wheeler Park Zoo) when it was founded in 1902. I don't know why I said that, I just think it's kinda cool.

speaking of the zoo... with the dilapidated state of the Aquarium at the zoo, i've always hoped that they would build an Aquarium at Wheeler park (and also pay homage to the original zoo). This would give downtown another attraction to get people down there (especially on weekends). and give the zoo the ability to find a different use for the area where the current aquarium is.

i don't see this happening... but it is what i have hoped would happen for about 10 years now.

BrettM2
10-16-2012, 11:49 AM
speaking of the zoo... with the dilapidated state of the Aquarium at the zoo, i've always hoped that they would build an Aquarium at Wheeler park (and also pay homage to the original zoo). This would give downtown another attraction to get people down there (especially on weekends). and give the zoo the ability to find a different use for the area where the current aquarium is.

i don't see this happening... but it is what i have hoped would happen for about 10 years now.

That would be a great addition, but I worry that it wouldn't be any better than the one in Jenks. I always felt that was overrated.

The Zoo's master plan shows a planned remodel of the aquarium starting in 2019, IIRC. If they continue their string of success with their other remodels, I have no doubt it will be great.

CaptDave
10-16-2012, 12:29 PM
speaking of the zoo... with the dilapidated state of the Aquarium at the zoo, i've always hoped that they would build an Aquarium at Wheeler park (and also pay homage to the original zoo). This would give downtown another attraction to get people down there (especially on weekends). and give the zoo the ability to find a different use for the area where the current aquarium is.

i don't see this happening... but it is what i have hoped would happen for about 10 years now.

That's a pretty darn good idea. If they would build on as nice as the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga it would do well. That one is primarily focused on fresh water eco-systems and an OKC Aquarium could be a liquid version of the Oklahom Trails section of the OKC Zoo. It would be a western anchor to the river developments and actually give people a reason to ride the river boats.

Fantastic
10-16-2012, 01:26 PM
speaking of the zoo... with the dilapidated state of the Aquarium at the zoo, i've always hoped that they would build an Aquarium at Wheeler park (and also pay homage to the original zoo). This would give downtown another attraction to get people down there (especially on weekends). and give the zoo the ability to find a different use for the area where the current aquarium is.

i don't see this happening... but it is what i have hoped would happen for about 10 years now.

I couldn't agree more, and even with the remodel of the Zoo's Aquarium this could work. I like the "Aquatic Oklahoma Trails" idea, but thought maybe just a portion of an aquarium, with the rest being cool and unusual things we don't see normally. Would love to have a shark tank to rival the one in Jenks, but also a Jellyfish Tunnel. Don't think I've ever seen a Jellyfish Tunnel. It would be not only awsome, but unique and breathtaking.

An aquarium would also promote quality redevelopment of the south portion of Riverside, and link the Farmer's Market with the eventual redevelopment of Downtown Airpark. And with the MAPS3 Park's enevitable connection to Wiley Post Park, this would push alot of positive development to the south and west. I could see and aquarium as an anchor and jump start for development not only in C2S but also as far west as Stockyards City, and as far south as Capitol Hill, and with the impending redevelopmet of Hubcap Alley and possibly the Pull-A-Part site to the east, we could see some amazing developments as far south as Grand within 30 or so years (let's be honest, it would probably take that long) all anchored by a simple aquarium.

Sadly this is all just a dream.

CaptDave
10-16-2012, 01:29 PM
But we SHOULD dream big for our city. If not for big dreams, we wouldn't have the Thunder here now, Devon Tower might be in Houston, and the river would still be a ditch. Not all big dreams can become reality, but they often are the reason other good things do come to pass.

jedicurt
10-16-2012, 02:39 PM
Friends for a Better Aquarium????

Fantastic
10-16-2012, 04:28 PM
friends for a better aquarium????

boom!

Fantastic
10-16-2012, 05:26 PM
Friends for a Better Aquarium????

I'm not sure if this is sarcasm or not... but.............

In all seriousness, I've been thinking about this for a long time... Not specifically "Friends for a Better Aquarium," but at what point will we have a grassroots organization called "Friends for a Better OKC?" For real. It could be an honest to God real life organization with sub-groups for idividual projects such as Friends for a Better Boulevard, Friends for a Better Convention Center, (and now) Friends for a Better Aquarium. We've seen the attention that these kinds of groups can generate.

Now, with that said, IF my dream of an FBOKC were to be a reality (which I doubt), a group like this would have to be very careful to not cheapen its message. I envision a group with a board of (for lack of better terms) directors, comprised of passionate individuals willing to dedicate their time and effort. Anyone could submit their ideas to this board for review and the board would then make a determination as to what should be done with it. Perhaps a 4 level sponsorship system where the importance of the project could be analized and put into specific categories. Like a Partnership category where the FBOKC works actively with the sub group to get the message out there, an Acitve Sponsor category where the FBOKC takes on the overall operation of the sub group, a Sponsor categorgy where the FBOKC basically says "Yes, we believe you have a wonerful idea and you have our blessing to continue lobbying for your better _____," and of coarse a Non-sponsor category: "Great that you believe in _______, keep up the good work, your on your own."

Ok, so I'm WAY off topic here... sorry about that, I've just thought alot about this, and while I don't think anything like this would ever happen, I do think it would be pretty cool... I haven't bloged in a while, maybe I will blog about this idea tonight, if my wife lets me... (sweety, I know you are a lurker, so you are seeing this... please let me blog tonight... p.s. I love you... p.s.s. don't kill me)

RickOKC
10-17-2012, 08:36 AM
I really appreciate, and agree with, the overall conclusion of this thread so far. I understand Just the Fact's point, that it's possible for an urban environment to have too much park space (although our current lack makes it hard to fathom that being the case here). However, if too much park space is to be a future problem, I definitely don't see residential re-development as the only conceivable solution. Why take publicly-owned land, in what is destined to be a prime location, and just surrender it to private residential development when there is huge potential for this space for public purposes? Hence, the brilliance of an aquarium (which is, to me, truly a stroke of brilliance; it would provide a great, flanking anchor of interest on the southwest side of downtown as the boathouse distict currently provides such on the southeast side of downtown). After all, it's not like we don't have plenty of residential holes to fill in downtown itself before re-purposing Wheeler Park would prove a necessity! I personally think that the space as currently used is very beneficial. Let it be the downtown sports complex hub, while the other parks have the freedom to carry other identities and purposes. And if a glut of downtown park space eventually proves to be a problem, fill the space with public development that creates new interest and identity for the park.

jedicurt
10-17-2012, 09:37 AM
when i first typed the "Friends for a Better Aquarium" yes, i was being sarcastic.... but after i posted it, i couldn't stop thinking about it all day long. This has seriously been something that i have hoped for, since probably 1999 or 2000... when i started to get depressed every time i walked through the Aquarium at the Zoo and thought that it's biggest problem is the zoo's biggest problem now, amount of land available for redevelopment. And seeing the responses from both Fantastic, RickOKC and Sid, really helped me realize that i wasn't being crazy with my thought of this being something we should really try and see if it could be done.

As for the Friends for a Better OKC, i'm all for that idea.

jedicurt
10-17-2012, 09:43 AM
in the mean time... a Friends for a better Aquarium page is now officially on Facebook.

jedicurt
10-17-2012, 10:03 AM
http://www.facebook.com/groups/377805425628138/

jedicurt
10-17-2012, 03:56 PM
I'm not sure if this is sarcasm or not... but.............

In all seriousness, I've been thinking about this for a long time... Not specifically "Friends for a Better Aquarium," but at what point will we have a grassroots organization called "Friends for a Better OKC?" For real. It could be an honest to God real life organization with sub-groups for idividual projects such as Friends for a Better Boulevard, Friends for a Better Convention Center, (and now) Friends for a Better Aquarium. We've seen the attention that these kinds of groups can generate.

Now, with that said, IF my dream of an FBOKC were to be a reality (which I doubt), a group like this would have to be very careful to not cheapen its message. I envision a group with a board of (for lack of better terms) directors, comprised of passionate individuals willing to dedicate their time and effort. Anyone could submit their ideas to this board for review and the board would then make a determination as to what should be done with it. Perhaps a 4 level sponsorship system where the importance of the project could be analized and put into specific categories. Like a Partnership category where the FBOKC works actively with the sub group to get the message out there, an Acitve Sponsor category where the FBOKC takes on the overall operation of the sub group, a Sponsor categorgy where the FBOKC basically says "Yes, we believe you have a wonerful idea and you have our blessing to continue lobbying for your better _____," and of coarse a Non-sponsor category: "Great that you believe in _______, keep up the good work, your on your own."

Ok, so I'm WAY off topic here... sorry about that, I've just thought alot about this, and while I don't think anything like this would ever happen, I do think it would be pretty cool... I haven't bloged in a while, maybe I will blog about this idea tonight, if my wife lets me... (sweety, I know you are a lurker, so you are seeing this... please let me blog tonight... p.s. I love you... p.s.s. don't kill me)

I think this should be it's own thread on okctalk... i like this idea a lot

Fantastic
10-17-2012, 04:51 PM
I think this should be it's own thread on okctalk... i like this idea a lot

Ask and ye shall recieve:

http://www.okctalk.com/general-civic-issues/32162-friends-better-okc.html#post585725

yeah, I pretty much just copied what I previously said... look for a blog post about this tonight or tomoorrow... I'll post a link

RickOKC
10-18-2012, 08:27 AM
Now that the brainstorming for an organization has been assigned its own thread, I would be curious to hear the opinion of others regarding Wheeler Park and its best usage/identity. I appreciate how the perspectives of contributors here shape my thinking on issues such as these, and I'm not sure I'm seeing the full picture here. So, while I appreciate the comments posted so far, I would be curious to hear the perspective of some OKCTalk veterans/administrators, as well as our resident urbanization experts. What part should Wheeler Park play in the future of the downtown fabric?

Just the facts
10-18-2012, 08:58 AM
What part should Wheeler Park play in the future of the downtown fabric?

None, the functions of Wheeler Park are being shifted to Promenade Park. If there is a desire to keep Wheeler then Promenade should be scrapped. OKC doesn't need near the park space that is being planned if the existing park space is also kept.

jedicurt
10-18-2012, 10:06 AM
None, the functions of Wheeler Park are being shifted to Promenade Park. If there is a desire to keep Wheeler then Promenade should be scrapped. OKC doesn't need near the park space that is being planned if the existing park space is also kept.

which is why i think putting something on the land that would act as a location for tourists to visit, then it would be a good re-use of this land and hopefully encourage and stimulate development around it. A large Aquarium sitting right off the walking trail along the river, i think would be a beautiful thing that would attract tourism. I'm not sure what you do with the rest of the park ( i would like for part of the Aquarium, if it is a project of the OKC Zoo, to also include something to recognize the history of this area as being the original zoo location... something similar to what is in the tiny Zoosuem building they have now at the zoo). perhaps that idea of turing it residential or something would be a good idea. that part i'm not sure about

Just the facts
10-18-2012, 11:30 AM
An aquarium on that site would be too far away from anything else. To keep downtown walkable and build synergy (and promote time-diversity) things need to stay as compact and close together as possible.

Dubya61
10-18-2012, 12:02 PM
I think an aquarium that interacted with the river would be great, though.

Just the facts
10-18-2012, 01:15 PM
I would rather see it interact with the canal; but that boat already sank. If an aquarium was in the works it should be located along the streetcar route.

OKCRT
10-18-2012, 02:13 PM
A Grand Casino/Hotel resort would fit perfect at this spot. That would bring people/money to the area and keep them from taking those millions out of the city limits.

jedicurt
10-18-2012, 03:21 PM
I would rather see it interact with the canal; but that boat already sank. If an aquarium was in the works it should be located along the streetcar route.

why would you rather see it interact with the canal?? that idea just doesn't make sense to me. And i do agree that an Aquarium (if one were to be built) should be located along future street car routes...

Fantastic
10-19-2012, 12:12 AM
why would you rather see it interact with the canal?? that idea just doesn't make sense to me. And i do agree that an Aquarium (if one were to be built) should be located along future street car routes...

I could see it along the canal, between, the southend and Rocktown, but I favor the Wheeler Park idea. As far as the street car goes, future development will dictate future routes, since nothing beyond the MAPS3 phase is set in stone, should there be quality development in the area, I could see a future route street car route cuting through Wheeler along 10th connecting to other future routes along Western and Walker. An idea for the future.

Fantastic
10-19-2012, 12:16 AM
On a more on topic note. Remember the old drawings for C2S that showed low density suburban neighborhoods south of I-40 (including Wheeler Park)... who else thinks that is a TERRIBLE idea? I would think the area should be higher density Deep Duece style (with different architecture, of coarse) residentual.

Thougts?

Just the facts
10-19-2012, 06:51 AM
I agree Fantastic. The rendering of C2S have always bothered me. The only thing that made me feel better about C2S was reading the study, because the rendering were disappointing.

jedicurt
10-19-2012, 08:58 AM
On a more on topic note. Remember the old drawings for C2S that showed low density suburban neighborhoods south of I-40 (including Wheeler Park)... who else thinks that is a TERRIBLE idea? I would think the area should be higher density Deep Duece style (with different architecture, of coarse) residentual.

Thougts?

I agree as well. If it is going to be developed, it should be higher density residential... There should be no low density residential development anywhere near C2S, in my opinion

CaptDave
10-19-2012, 10:25 AM
I think (hope?) C2S will likely have a mix of row houses and small lot bungalow type homes. There will be a demand for single family homes in the area but I don't think likely buyers will want huge yards to keep up. I hope the city requires alleys to access garage on the rear of the homes. I absolutely would not want to see the typical massive garage door dominating the front of C2S homes as in subrgatory.

RickOKC
10-19-2012, 05:14 PM
Just the Facts, could you explain why you think the combination of Promenade Park and Wheeler Park means too much park space? It's not that I disagree; I would actually like to understand what standard is used to measure such a thing.

Just the facts
10-19-2012, 07:37 PM
RickOKC - I am not sure I can explain but let me try. One of the large attractions to an urban park is the social interaction, both planned and unplanned, that it affords. Park space should be small enough that people don't feel alone and unsafe, but large enough to support multiple activates at the same time, while at the same time providing for the chance encounter.

A sparsely populated park will result in illegal activity and the presences of undesirables, especially at night. Nothing in worse than taking your kids to a playground on Saturday morning and finding a used condom draped on a swing. By minimizing park space we can help to ensure that the park is used more hours per day and at night there are more eyes on the park to identify and report suspicious activity.

Parks should also be the social node of residential areas. Too many nodes and the surrounding neighborhoods and the people have a hard time being defined as a cohesive unit. I know several people who live in Center City Philadelphia and it is amazing how they identify with their parks. Ask one of them where they live and they don't give you the building name or the street - they tell you what square they live near. You see that in NYC as well with Central Park West and Central Park East.

For every acre of park space that is one less acre of residential. If Wheeler Park is kept, who is going to use Promenade Park? As with anything, there is an economy of scale with parks. The more people that go to a park the more amenities that park can have and support. For example, a hotdog or ice cream vendor could earn enough money to serve one park, but spread the users across two parks and the vendor can't survive at either of them.

Parks, and the areas around them, need time-diversity as much as a shopping center does. This is one of the reasons MBG can't attract a restaurant. One might be able to make enough money to be open M-F from 8AM to 5PM, but would have to close at 5PM and probably not open at all on weekends. It is going to take a lot more people focused like a laser beam on one park for that park to reach its full potential.

On a higher society level; despite what multiculturalists tell us, it is what we have in common that makes us strong. The more we have in common with each other the stronger our social bonds become and nothing brings adults together more than watching their kids play together. The same is true of the businesses that build up around the park. It is hard to hold ill feelings about someone based on race, income, etc… when they hold the door open for you while entering your favorite hang-out or wait in line with you at Starbucks, or sitting on the same park bench feeding birds or playing chess.

If you don’t already have it, pick up a copy of The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. She has a great chapter on urban parks. If you ever get the chance go to Philadelphia and hang out in Rittenhouse Square. It is one of my favorite places on the planet and even at midnight it is full of users and totally safe. This is due in part to all the restaurants that line the buildings just across the street from it and the local Barnes and Noble book store. Anyhow, those are just some rambling thoughts off the top of my head.

CaptDave
10-19-2012, 07:46 PM
I am glad you elaborated on your view on this JTF. I was trying to figure out where you were coming from by stating Wheeler would be too much park. Definitely need to think about this - you made several good points.

RickOKC
10-19-2012, 08:36 PM
Agreed on your sentiments, CaptDave. Thanks, JTF, for taking the time to explain. That wasn't just reasonable and informative; it was well-written, too. I'm an avid reader, and I will genuinely chase down Jacobs' book.

Could you entertain a couple of follow-up questions? I know that, according to your density standard, both parks could not adequately supported in the short term. But what about in the long term? If the C2S area is eventually packed with high-density residential, could they not both be supported - even needed - then? In other words, could we ever find ourselves desiring to have that land back for public use after it has irrevocably been re-purposed for residential use? Second question: would An idea like Fantastic's be an adequate solution? Keep the land in public use, but alter it's use?

Just the facts
10-19-2012, 10:28 PM
Consider Center City Philadelphia. It has the 3rd highest number of downtown residents in the US and can only support 3 parks of any significant size (and one of those is inhabited by bums). If you look at the park space that already exist in downtown OKC I don't see any way OKC would have the population to absorb more. This list is just off the top of my head:

MBG
Sandridge Commons (even bigger than it was before)
Bicentennial Park
The park across from the federal building
City Hall Park
Central Park
Promenade Park
Stars and Stripes Park
Wheeler Park
Nearly all of Lower Bricktown
The river (on both sides for miles)

Plus all the impromptu/unofficial parks and open space like the chamber triangle, canal corner, Oklahoma Ave dead end in Deep Deuce, the lawn at Stage Center, in front of the garden wing at Devon Tower, the new little park in front of OMA, etc...

Honestly, downtown OKC could probably stand to lose half of its existing park space. We already have more park space than can be patroled and monitored which is why graffiti is already on the Skydance Bridge. More than can be used is a waste of resources and those parks don't maintain themselves for free.

BTW - you can pick up the Jane Jacobs book at Barnes and Noble in the Cultural Studies section. Mine has a price of $16 on it.

RickOKC
10-20-2012, 07:51 AM
So, would you have preferred not to have had the Central Park or Promenade Park as part of Maps 3 in the first place?

Snowman
10-20-2012, 08:57 AM
which is why i think putting something on the land that would act as a location for tourists to visit, then it would be a good re-use of this land and hopefully encourage and stimulate development around it. A large Aquarium sitting right off the walking trail along the river, i think would be a beautiful thing that would attract tourism. I'm not sure what you do with the rest of the park ( i would like for part of the Aquarium, if it is a project of the OKC Zoo, to also include something to recognize the history of this area as being the original zoo location... something similar to what is in the tiny Zoosuem building they have now at the zoo). perhaps that idea of turing it residential or something would be a good idea. that part i'm not sure about

I am still trying to figure out a compelling reason for an independently located Aquarium verses adding whatever funds it would take to the OKC Zoo's aquarium remodel in 2019. It likely will not be built before 2019 and likely will have a smaller and less stable revenue supply if it were constructed. I doubt the OKC Zoo would be involved in this unless it is a requirement of a large donation to be in the area, it would be a logistical pain and more costly to operate verses on their land. If it is being done by someone who wants more tourists in the area then that is one thing but if it is someone who wants an aquarium to succeed it seems to be adding unnecessary obstacles for long term operations.

Just the facts
10-20-2012, 09:08 AM
In retrospect the Central Park was not a good idea. In addition to losing valuable boulevard frontage it steals visitors from MBG. Here is a quick run down of how the parks should be done in my opinion.

1) Keep MBG as it is today
2) Devon shouldn't have been allowed a large setback and park in front of their building. If their employees want to sit in a park they should have gone to MBG to do it
3) Bicenntenial Park should have been a concrete plaza with planters. That would keep bums from sleeping in it.
4) Sandridge Forest should have never been approved and Couch Drive returned to 2-way traffic.
5) Central Park shouldn't be built. Once again it will steal visitors from MBG and would have allowed infill between the boulevard and I-40.
6) Promenade Park should be built, but not as big as planned.
7) The riverfront should have been urbanized, not turned to park space
8) Wheeler Park should be converted to residential with an urbanized waterfront
9) Wiley Post Park should be reduced by 66% and then use that land to build a mixed-use development (maybe include aquarium) that would be on future streetcar route to Capitol Hill.
10) The Federal Building park should be developed and 7th St reopened
11) Lower Bricktown (south of the old I-40) should be developed
12) Lower Bricktown (north of the old I-40) should be bulldozed and done again making it much more dense

kevinpate
10-20-2012, 09:16 AM
Not sure why Stars and Stripes Park (South shore of Lake Hefner) would be a part of a DT park discussion.
Is there more than one?

Just the facts
10-20-2012, 09:21 AM
You're right. I meant Wiley Post. I fixed it.

RickOKC
10-20-2012, 12:18 PM
JTF, all of what you're saying makes sense; it just definitely runs counter to my current paradigm of urban development. I mean, I'm definitely on board for high-density, defining spaces, urban canyons, etc. But prior to what you've explained, saying we have too much park space was akin to saying we have too much money.

In order to stay somewhat on topic (do we have a thread devoted to "development philosophy"?), what is the actual likelihood of Wheeler Park being turned over to residential development?

Just the facts
10-20-2012, 02:04 PM
... saying we have too much park space was akin to saying we have too much money.

If land is money it is like spending all the money on hamburger buns and none on hamburger. You can still have a picnic but most people will leave hungry.

jedicurt
10-22-2012, 11:44 AM
I am still trying to figure out a compelling reason for an independently located Aquarium verses adding whatever funds it would take to the OKC Zoo's aquarium remodel in 2019. It likely will not be built before 2019 and likely will have a smaller and less stable revenue supply if it were constructed. I doubt the OKC Zoo would be involved in this unless it is a requirement of a large donation to be in the area, it would be a logistical pain and more costly to operate verses on their land. If it is being done by someone who wants more tourists in the area then that is one thing but if it is someone who wants an aquarium to succeed it seems to be adding unnecessary obstacles for long term operations.

I wasn't saying it was something that needed to be done, or even should be done... just something i had always hoped would be done... and as for it having a smaller and less stable revenue supply, that is just someones opinion, and not actually known. I think that Wheeler Park is a part of OKC's history, and this is just an idea that i had been kicking around for awhile to help preserve some of that history and help spur up development in the area at the same time. I don't know if it is feasible, or if anyone else would want to do it. I just think that it is an option, and i personally am going to try and look into the feasibility of it for my own reasons.

I guess the history of Wheeler Park being the original home of the OKC Zoo is my stage center... I know i'll never be able to convince most of the people on this forum that saving that history is a worthy project, but it is a project that i am going to look into.

While i agree with JTF on his idea that we might have too much park space, i think this park should be saved in some shape or form as a memory of what it once was. OKC has one of the best zoo's in the country and it's history started right there on that spot, i think that is a part of our history that is worth commemorating. I don't know whether i posted it on here or not, but i don't even think we need to keep the whole park they way it is. and i don't know if the OKC Zoo would be interested in the idea of separating out the Aquarium. but i just know that they are putting a lot of money into their Zooseum, and it doesn't have much space at the current zoo location, and they are looking at rebuilding the Aquarium, perhaps moving both of these items to Wheeler park or somewhere else downtown, could or could not, be a good idea.

P.S. very good post on Park Space and Usage, JTF. i learned where you are coming from now!

Popsy
10-22-2012, 02:10 PM
I thought the reason for the Central park was to get rid of a large blighted area which was attached to the Central Business District, but if someone from Jacksonville, FL that gets off telling Oklahomans what that are doing wrong then maybe we should do away with at least half of our parks. But, I guess we could also consider that we might be building these for our future children or grand children.

catch22
10-22-2012, 02:17 PM
Often we need outside perspective to help guide us along. Locals are often too close to the action to see the big picture sometimes and it is good to have someone not so close who can see a more distant picture since there is little direct involvement. I appreciate his comments, ideas, and views on what we are doing in Oklahoma City. Whether he live in Boston, Jacksonville, or Tulsa. Having outside perspective is nothing but a good thing.

Dubya61
10-23-2012, 08:21 AM
Does anyone know if the OKC Zoo is maxed out on land (without taking more)? If money were no object would the OKC Zoo like to ditch it's aquatic efforts and open up a Wheeler Park Aquarium? And then expand it's non-aquatic stuff? Should it take all of it's aquatic life out and move it to Wheeler Park? All the freshwater but none of the seawater life? Just the stuff native to Oklahoma? Duplicate it's efforts leaving a token display in the Adventure District but focusing on Wheeler Park? I'm not sure if I'd consider a trip to the zoo complete without an aquatic section. I guess all I'm saying is, Jedicurt: Let's say your the OKC Zoo emperor for a day. How would you do it? or would the Wheeler Aquarium compete with the OKC Zoo?

Bellaboo
10-23-2012, 08:37 AM
I thought the reason for the Central park was to get rid of a large blighted area which was attached to the Central Business District, but if someone from Jacksonville, FL that gets off telling Oklahomans what that are doing wrong then maybe we should do away with at least half of our parks. But, I guess we could also consider that we might be building these for our future children or grand children.

JTF (Kerry) is from Oklahoma, just been out of town for a while.....

BrettM2
10-23-2012, 09:52 AM
JTF (Kerry) is from Oklahoma, just been out of town for a while.....

I think it is the communication "style" that causes more issues than where he's from or living at now. His points would be better taken without the "holier than thou, smarter than thou" tone that many of his posts take (not saying it is intentional, but many of them definitely feel that way). My two cents on the matter...

Dubya61
10-23-2012, 10:01 AM
I think it is the communication "style" that causes more issues than where he's from or living at now. His points would be better taken without the "holier than thou, smarter than thou" tone that many of his posts take (not saying it is intentional, but many of them definitely feel that way). My two cents on the matter...

I know where you're coming from, but JTF (I think) must gets to the point sometimes when it feels like he's the only one saying the right things. Yeah, he does come across as "holier than thou" once in a while, but those times mostly are when he's retreading old ground. Maybe it just happened that he was having one of those days. Maybe it was you. JTF means well and generally comes across well, IMHO.
Also, JTF still has a stake in OKC, even if mostly emotional.
Finally, it is a message board where we can freely share ideas. We don't all present our ideas in polite context and we don't have to embrace every idea we see. I'll be some people see my name at the top of a post and just gloss right pass my (IMHO) thoughtful comments.

jedicurt
10-23-2012, 10:56 AM
Does anyone know if the OKC Zoo is maxed out on land (without taking more)?

I do think the OKC Zoo is pretty much maxed out on land... it's got the lake to the east, science museum and MLK to the west... 50th to the north, and the golf course to the south... there might be a little bit of land left, but not much.

And i think a lot of zoo's have gone away from having a traditional Aquarium, and moved them into the other exhibits, (kinda like the fish in the Oklahoma Trails exhibit, and the Snapping Turtle if they ever get that space finished). And with our next major phases of redevelopment being the African Savannah area (where the rhino's currently are) and finishing up the Asian area to the south, i think this is where our zoo is heading. So perhaps moving out Ocean life into it's own Aquarium space outside of the zoo is something they could do (and incorporate fresh water life as well, if they so choosed). And they keep raising money for their musuem, which is just such a small little building right in the middle of their just finished Elephant exhibit, i think this land could be better used, and move their idea of having traveling exhibits and a history of the zoo along with an Aquarium at Wheeler park... i don't think it would compete with the zoo, i think (especially for the museum (or Zooseum as they keep calling it) it would greatly benefit from being downtown more and having it's own exposure as to exhibits that come through (like the dinosaur exhibit they had a few years ago)

stdennis
10-23-2012, 01:36 PM
I think the zoo has enough room for a new ocean area (since they are dividing the spaces on location instead of type of animal) they have 3 options that i can see quickly.

First they can redo the current one and add on. The underground stuff can be about deep ocean life. They have plenty of space to the north and north east(where the bears used to be and between 50th and the research building (i think that's what it is)) and to the west where the butterfly garden is and the red pandas all the way to the Herpetarium(even it since they are moving it) they can expand the current building and the new areas can be either different ocean areas or different levels of the ocean. with a larger area for dolphins, sea lions, seals, sharks and small whales.

here is a picture of the area
2763

Second they can tear down the current one and rebuild in that same area (the first is more likely given their choice of not shutting down exhibits for the most part.

Third and the most grand and would give them a lot more space is if they partnered with the science museum and built a new parking garage (they could probably build a 5 level garage on half the science museums lot and still have the same room amount of parking they both currently share. This would leave them with their parking lot and the science museum with half of theirs to expand on. They could close 52nd and expand over that or just build a bridge/tunnel to connect the two.

2764

They could then build the new ocean center on the parking lot area and they would then have the area that i highlighted in the previous picture to build a new exhibit.

Snowman
10-23-2012, 02:40 PM
Does anyone know if the OKC Zoo is maxed out on land (without taking more)? If money were no object would the OKC Zoo like to ditch it's aquatic efforts and open up a Wheeler Park Aquarium? And then expand it's non-aquatic stuff? Should it take all of it's aquatic life out and move it to Wheeler Park? All the freshwater but none of the seawater life? Just the stuff native to Oklahoma? Duplicate it's efforts leaving a token display in the Adventure District but focusing on Wheeler Park? I'm not sure if I'd consider a trip to the zoo complete without an aquatic section. I guess all I'm saying is, Jedicurt: Let's say your the OKC Zoo emperor for a day. How would you do it? or would the Wheeler Aquarium compete with the OKC Zoo?

It depends on what you mean by maxed out, they are unlikely to be adding more acreage to the current property, however if you are talking about land for expanding the current Aquarium they could easily double (possibly triple) the building footprint without impeding other exhibits on existing land. If that size is not big enough then some of the lake could be converted back to land and built on. If they expanded southwest where the current paths are essentially just landscaped ramps it would encourage them to make it at least two stories.

Urbanized
10-25-2012, 11:44 AM
The OKC Zoo is far from maxed out; it owns well over 400 acres, only 119 of which are developed. Also, their 20 year master plan calls for a large-scale renovation of Aquaticus in a few years. That is pretty likely to happen thanks to the zoo's dedicated funding and normally very successful fundraising efforts. Historically anything that makes the master plan gets done. I'm not sure if that plan calls for aquarium expansion, but if so the existing footprint of Aquaticus could be more than doubled in the same location by growing to the north and west, incorporating the land formerly occupied by the cat grottoes, which are now abandoned and screened off from the path that cuts between them and the aquarium.

And please, bite your tongue about needlessly filling in any portion of Northeast (Zoo) Lake. It is spring fed and has existed in the same basic form for around 100 years. It's a wonderful amenity for the zoo, including the view and cooling it provides, plus the swan boats, the Safari Voyage my company runs, and easily-accessible fishing for the public.

To bring the thread full-circle, I will point out that the park this thread is about (Wheeler) was the original home of the OKC Zoo, which is itself older than the state of Oklahoma (1904) and the oldest zoo in the southwest.

kevinpate
10-25-2012, 01:31 PM
While it's not cut from the exact same piece of cloth ... As OKC is bringing tall buildings back to DT, and, as OKC is brining streetcars back to downtown, and as OKC is bringing new life to old buildings DT (excluding Stage Center, but hey, no city is perfect), then maybe thinking about bringing som portion of the OKC Zoo back to its original stomping grounds isn't all that farfetched.

I absolutely agree there is no reason to even consider filling in park of the lake at the zoo.

jedicurt
10-25-2012, 04:04 PM
To bring the thread full-circle, I will point out that the park this thread is about (Wheeler) was the original home of the OKC Zoo, which is itself older than the state of Oklahoma (1904) and the oldest zoo in the southwest.

And this is exactly why i want to do something to this park that acts as a reminder of its history