By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
City of Sand Springs officials and Parks Department employees gathered together Tuesday morning at the Case Community Center to celebrate a new development in River City Park. The 100-acre park will receive a $6.2 million renovation thanks to Vision 2025 funding and a $2 million donation by Mike and Pat Case of Case & Associates.
What is currently known as River City Park is already the biggest park in Sand Springs and will soon become one of the nicest in Tulsa County thanks to Vision 2025 surplus funding and the Case family's benevolence.
Tulsa County approved millions in surplus Vision 2025 sales tax funding for Sand Springs in February of last year and Case & Associates CEO Mike Case pledged an additional $2 million to fully fund the ambitious Sand Springs parks vision.
"This is only possible because of generous donors like Mike and Pat Case," said Sand Springs City Councilwoman Patty Dixon. "Even though Mike and Pat now reside in Tulsa, they have always considered Sand Springs home."
"I've always thought Sand Springs was a great place to live. I still do and I think it's getting better and better," said Mike Case.
Mayor Mike Burdge discussed the similarities in population and quality of living between Sand Springs and Broken Arrow when he was growing up. "What changed was the attitude of the leadership in the City," said Burdge. "If we can get this park to be a location spot, get stuff going on here every month...the possibilities are unlimited."
The park is already the home of the Sand Springs Soccer Club recreational league, the West Side Alliance competitive soccer league, Sand Springs Little League baseball and softball, the Round Up Club rodeo arena, and the Sand Springs BMX Association. The recent addition of the Rotary Club Super Splash Pad has rounded out what was already a destination park for many in the Sand Springs area.
The new funding will provide for the demolition of old structures and the construction of a new amphitheater. New sidewalks, signage, landscaping, and a large-scale entrance will add to the looks of the park.
New sports facilities include two new youth baseball fields, a new tournament-sized soccer field, and a new half-court basketball court. An existing volleyball court will be renovated along with several horseshoe pits. The soccer fields, which currently have no special entrance, will receive a grand entry, as will the Jerry Adair Baseball Park, which is currently accessible only in a round-about way that requires leaving the park itself and driving down an industrial business road. An existing 18-hole disc golf course will be relocated deeper within the park in the area of the BMX track and Rodeo Arena.
Accessibility will be a major feature of the new renovations, with drop-off locations throughout the park, new parking and lighting, and new park shelters and restrooms. Park beautification is also a major goal with plans for improved view of the Arkansas River, nearly a dozen custom art pieces laser cut in Corten Steel and illuminated at night, as well as a grassy area being dubbed the "Great Lawn."
The Great Lawn will host a large outdoor pavilion and special event stage with remodeled restrooms and will be the premier viewing location for the annual Sertoma Fireworks Show, as well as will be the anchor location of the Chillin' and Grillin' Festival.
There will be a new playground constructed near the Rotary Super Splash Pad, which is already home to a large concessions building ran by Sand Springs Soccer Club President Jeremy Herrington. The concessions serves hot food and Harper's Hut Shaved Ice throughout the summer as a fundraiser for youth baseball and soccer.
Public events like the Chilin' and Grillin' Festival, as well the newly revived Great Raft Race will be made even better due to new restroom housing, electrical power connections, water line service, and parking.
Parks Director Grant Gerondale expects the renovation to take about a year to complete.