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October 21, 2013

Shady infrastructure makes city parks user-friendly

NORMAN — Nowhere is the intimate connection between people and trees more obvious than at our city parks. Trees were the original infrastructure for parks. Now, pavilions and playground shade structures also protect picnickers and children.

On April 13, 2012 — Friday the 13th — bad luck seemed to hit Norman as several trees were uprooted or severely damaged. At Rotary Park, the picnic shelter also was damaged, as were park equipment and structures throughout the city.

Built by Tom Fredgren and designed by the McKinney Partnership, the new pavilion at Rotary Park is now complete. Made of moss builder stone — a natural-looking brown stone — the pavilion matches the park’s Rotary house. The landmark shelter also has a large barbecue grill. Cost for the shelter was $103,000.

“We’re probably going to build a big one like that over in Andrews as well,” said Parks Planner James Briggs. “We want identifiable architecture in our parks.”

The Andrews Park shelter will also use the same design and stone.

“It will match the WPA type stone we have at Andrews,” Briggs said. “It’s never exact, but it’s a good match.”

Up next will be the replanting of trees at Andrews and Rotary to replace those lost in the 2012 tornado.

“We have to wait until after the first frost,” Briggs said.

The Norman Rotary Club donated $5,000 to help fund the cost of the trees at Rotary park. Playground equipment also was replaced at Rotary Park, and city staff is collecting bids on a playground shade structure. Rotary is contributing to that, also.

“They give every year to the park,” Briggs said.

· Andrews Park: According to City Manager Steve Lewis, the Norman Assistance League has agreed to contribute $50,000 toward the Andrews Park shelter project as part of their 40th year celebration. The city plans to bid the project this fall and complete construction in the spring so that the shelter can be used as a part of the May Fair.

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