By Shana Adkisson
The Norman Transcript
MOORE — It’s rare that a train passing nearby a groundbreaking ceremony would garner applause and cheers of excitement from those attending.
Embracing the close proximity to the railroad tracks near 4th Street and Broadway Avenue, organizers of Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony of Moore Central Park, 600 S. Broadway Ave., offered wooden train whistles to all those in attendance Friday morning.
The 50-acre facility has been called a crowning jewel for the Moore community and will cover just over 113,000 square feet. The Recreation Center will be 52,311 square feet, the Aquatics Support Building is 7,415 square feet and the aquatics deck and pools will be 54,009 square feet. Also included in the park will be an amphitheater, farmers market pavilions, walking trail, universal playground and open spaces for families to gather. It is estimated that the projects will be completed by the fall 2015.
The family of Dr. Curtis Berry sold the land in 2013 to the City of Moore at a steep discount for the park. The park is being made possible by a general obligation bond and a quarter-cent temporary sales tax approved by Moore voters on Nov. 5, 2012.
Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Glenn Lewis praised city officials for their hard work in getting the park idea off the ground.
“I have a really good team. We started out, the first day I started here, saying we don’t have money to make payroll. I realized that we needed some businesses in here to actually make payroll next month. I have the best city council in the world. We don’t always agree on everything but we do get along long enough to get things done,” Lewis said.
On Dec. 11, 2013, the design team from Oklahoma based TAP Architecture unveiled the designs for the new park. Speaking from TAP Architecture Friday morning, Anthony McDermid, said that he felt a true sense of ownership in this project.
“As any designer will tell you that’s involved in this kind of work, we covet legacy projects and there is no question that this is a legacy project. It is a game changer. I also would like to say that this project will be a lot more than the sum of its parts. This is a new day for Moore, Oklahoma. This is the citizens of Moore, Oklahoma, saying to the world we have taxed ourselves to change to quality of life here in Moore to change the identity of Moore forever,” McDermid said.
The property the park will be built on, McDermid pointed out, was remarkable in many ways.
“It has remained undeveloped and available for this project since the beginning of Moore. On this piece of land, in history, has seen buffalo, it has seen Native Americans, it has seen the cattle trail it has seen the rail. Those tracks out there were there in 1886 and brought the settlers in 1889 to Oklahoma City. There is remarkable history here and this is just another piece of that history,” McDermid said.
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