Ruby Grant Park

A bicycle rests against a fence at the Ruby Grant Park playground. The grand opening for the park is set for Dec. 4, starting with a dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. (Kyle Phillips / The Transcript)

A longtime project that will provide versatile recreation for Norman is set to open next month.

Located at 3110 W. Franklin Rd. on the west side of I-35, Ruby Grant Park is set for a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. on Dec. 4, with a ribbon cutting event scheduled for the west side of the park by the playground.

The park features a variety of amenities including a dog park, athletic practice fields, multi-use trails, multiple parking facilities, an 18-hole disc golf course, two ponds, a cross country track and an inclusive playground.

Before Ruby Grant passed in 1998, she set up her estate to be given to the OU Foundation upon her death. After her passing, the City of Norman purchased the land from the foundation with a plan to create a park on it.

Over a decade ago, the master plan for Ruby Grant Park was approved by the Norman City Council. Funding for the 150-acre park’s first phase of construction came from the 2015 Norman Forward initiative.

Jud Foster, Norman Director of Parks and Recreation, said the city talked with Grant several years prior to her passing about purchasing the land to create a park and she was highly receptive to that idea.

“The general message back then was that this is going to be a passive space rather than a place for ball fields with bleachers, lights and organized recreation,” Foster said. “We designed it accordingly, and the land is suited for passive use. It was set up to make a nice public park.”

Foster said the park has a wide range of land types including tree cover, rolling terrain, flat terrain and ponds.

The cross country trail was sized to accommodate a 4k route and a 5k route, which could be used by high schools or universities.

The playground was designed for use by kids, which Foster said is the result of public input from individuals with varying abilities.

“We have done edging on the [paved] trails that could be detected by a cane from a blind person,” Foster said. “We have included about half of the disc golf holes are granite so that someone in a wheelchair could play there.”

Foster said the city aimed to develop a park that was cutting edge in terms of diversity and accessibility.

“I don’t know of any other courses built that way,” Foster said. “We are proud of that and excited about what that could bring in terms of use of the space.”

Local disc golf players gave the city guidance on laying out the course and helped with pruning the course to get it up to their standard.

“About half of the disc golf holes have granite surfaces so that someone in a wheelchair could play there,” Foster said. “I don’t know of any other courses built that way, and there is a practice putting area that has a crushed granite surface that’s flat that could be used by someone using a mobility device.”

In the coming months, Foster said plans include extending the parking area off Franklin Road to add over 50 spaces of parking and another restroom building, as well as more paved trails to and around the open practice fields for sports.

Mayor Breea Clark said she is proud and excited to add to the impressive roster of city parks with the long-awaited Ruby Grant Park.

“It’s diverse list of amenities will be enjoyed by residents for years to come,” Clark said.

Jeff Elkins

517-1933

Follow me @JeffElkins12

jelkins@normantranscript.com

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