OKC invests $600,000 in trees for Scissortail Park
By: Brian Brus
As much of Oklahoma City prepared for a winter storm Thursday, landscape crews were planting about 50 trees in the 70-acre Scissortail Park near the downtown business district.
They’ve planted 130 already, local varieties that were chosen for hardiness as well as beauty. The trees have been kept in nurseries for acclimation to their new environment to ensure transplant survival. Now that their growth has slowed down for winter, it’s a good time to transplant root bundles, said David Todd, who is overseeing the park’s construction under the MAPS 3 sales tax issue.
It’s important to keep the trees happy and healthy. They cost about $600,000 in total.
Voters supported the passage of a temporary penny tax nine years ago with the goal of raising $777 million for the park, a convention center, walking trails and several other projects. Scissortail Park itself has a $132 million budget, including about 900 trees.
Construction is well underway on the 40-acre section of the park on the north side of Interstate 40 with scheduled completion in spring 2019; the 30-acre south section will follow in 2021. When finished, the project will be the city’s largest park, easily dwarfing the Myriad Botanical Gardens just a few blocks away at one-tenth the size.
“It’s really starting to look like a park now,” Todd said, adding that paths have been paved, climbing walls have been erected, the great lawn berm has been sodded and light poles have been installed. “It’s starting to match the aerial-view plans we’ve been showing people for the last two years. It’s going to be great.”
In June, nearly 4 acres of impermeable liner was laid in a hole that will soon become a pond and part of the park’s elaborate water-conservation system. A Hargreaves Associates architect said at the time that stormwater will be collected in rain gardens and diverted to the pond through French drains buried beneath visitors’ feet. Todd said Thursday that a layer of dirt is being put in place and the pond will be ready to be filled soon.
Appearances to the contrary, however, the park is not ready for visitors, Todd said. It is still a dangerous construction site with safety fence in place.