Mayor David Holt said he hopes the new addition works to serve as a bridge, bringing the north and south sides of the city together.
The ribbon cutting and grand opening for Scissortail Park’s south side or Lower Park addition is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. September 23.
MAPS program manager David Todd said the lower park is smaller than the upper, and is expected to be “less programmatic and more focused on the sports fields.”
“The lower park will look and feel the same, but the focus is definitely different,” Todd said. “The park will have a futsal court, pickleball courts, two basketball courts and room for pick-up games.”
In addition to the food options at the upper park, the lower will contain two concession areas with public restrooms, the main purpose of both is to serve the sports courts/fields. Other features include the continuation of the botanical garden theme from the upper park, more paths and even a large stand of trees. Todd said the iconic lights that create such a striking scene in the upper park will be on the lower park’s promenade that extends from Southwest 15th Street to the river.
The lower park is more than a civic amenity; it functions as a bit of a promise to the city’s south side, especially the Latino neighborhoods and businesses just south of the Oklahoma River. Mayor David Holt talked about the park’s purpose in helping close what he called “the city’s historic divide.”
“The divide between north and south sides is well known, and there are even assumptions about north siders never going south of the river, but the truth is they never go south of I-40,” Holt said. “They don’t even get near the river.”
The patterns are long-standing, and the jokes — from both sides of the river — are mostly good natured, but there is an economic impact that comes from sectioning off a city in such a way. The SW 29th District is a great example of a district that is thriving but could do even better with support from the city’s north side. Capitol Hill, which has long struggled with ongoing relevance, would certainly benefit.
“I think the park has the potential to break these patterns,” Holt said. “Capitol Hill is literally three minutes from the lower park. There is no good reason not to go exploring. It’s ultimately healthy for a city when residents mix with each other, appreciate different lifestyles, and spend time in other neighborhoods.”
Holt said that putting so much on a park probably isn’t fair, but the hope is that the park’s metaphorical shoulders can bear the weight of bringing the city together.
“It’s potentially a literal and metaphorical bridge between the halves,” Holt said. “North siders really need to get to know that side of the city, and the park accelerates that process. I hope that very soon both halves of Scissortail Park will be something we can’t imagine not having in Oklahoma City.”