Foster said primary use and purpose determines the difference between neighborhood and community parks as designated in the master plan. Community parks tend to be larger and have more parking, restrooms and other facilities that can be used by residents for holiday gatherings, festivals or sporting events.
Developed community parks include Andrews, Griffin, Little Axe and Reaves. Griffin is the largest with 158 acres, which is home to 16 soccer fields, nine baseball fields, five softball fields, a dog park and a disc golf course. Ruby Grant, 146 acres, and Saxon, 96 acres, are planned as community parks.
Special purpose parks include Sutton Wilderness, with 160 acres of undeveloped nature reserve, and Westwood Park, with 130 developed acres. Westwood is home to a golf course, tennis center and swimming pool.
Norman’s three linear parks include the urban Legacy Trails system and the Doubletree and Hall Park Greenbelts.
“Those (Doubletree and Hall Park) are mostly passive areas for walking or jogging,” Foster said. “They’re greenbelt sites.”
Norman’s newest park is not included on the city’s master plan. That’s Monroe Park, which was created in cooperation with Norman Public Schools and was built using money freed up by a city charter vote in 2011. That money also is paying for upgrades of Colonial Estates, Colonial Commons, Sunrise and Adkins Crossing parks.
Money collected by the city over the years in lieu of park land dedications was freed up by the charter vote, which allowed the money to be used for improvements in cases where there is no more available land to purchase. The money is used only in area parks where the development fees are paid.
Funding for Legacy Park is coming from the TIF. As the city council plans future park upgrades and expansions, funding will be the big question.
The city also operates six recreation facilities, many of which need new gym floors or other improvements.