It's about fifteen till noon with a heat index of 89 degrees and a steady breeze to combat the humidity. I'm on my weekly trek through River City Park, taking photos of the construction progress, and I'm reminded that although all the hype is around the new projects in the park, the existing features are already worth the trip.
I parked by the Jerry Adair Baseball Complex, named for one of Sand Springs's greatest athletes, and rebuilt just a few years ago thanks to countless community donations and volunteer hours after a devastating tornado.
It is the West Side Alliance 3V3 tournament weekend so the soccer fields are packed. This is normal for Sand Springs. The WSA is one of the largest and most active soccer programs in the state.
The shaved ice banners are flying and the splash pad is open. A massive contribution from the Rotary Club and the nonprofit concession stand ran by WSA volunteers offer one of the best places in Sand Springs for kids to cool down and hang out.
Once you pass the hubbub of the Inez Kirk Soccer Complex, the park begins to quiet down.
I'm passing The Great Lawn and the new playground facilities now. For now the great lawn is a great mess, but soon enough it'll be a beautiful site to host concerts, festivals, and other community gatherings.
I stop at the playground to snap some pics and do a little playing of my own. It has been a year since Pokémon Go debuted, but it has managed to maintain its appeal for those of us who spent our childhood playing the games, collecting the cards, and watching the show. I battle the Gym located in the playground, then continue walking and hatching Pokémon eggs.
The restrooms are being updated and modern art is littered along the perimeter of the lawn. A minuteman stands to watch over the grounds, the mascot of Sand Springs. The amphitheater is exciting. I look forward to many great concerts here.
Once you pass the great lawn there's a boat ramp to the rive. The dam is open and the river is running. Not as uncommon as it used to be, but still a treat compared to the sandbars we're so used to.
Volleyball courts have been here for ages, the Horseshoe pits have been relocated, and a Thunder Cares Basketball Court is being built.
I'm getting into the back of the park now. The Will Ramsey Softball Complex, the rodeo arena, the BMX track, and the disc golf course. Round Up Club volunteers are currently painting the facility in hopes of reversing a City Council decision to demolish it at the end of the season. The new disc golf course is nice. I've played it a couple of times now.
I have reached the end of the park where it terminates beneath the Arkansas River bridge. The trail goes up the levee and meets Katy Trail allowing you to go into Prattville or back to Tulsa. The trail system will take you all the way to the new Gathering Place and beyond, though I don't see why anyone in Sand Springs would need to go that far when we have such a beautiful park right here.
Though the new additions are welcome, and the park has always had its flaws, the bones of the park will be the same in September as they were a year ago. Packed soccer, baseball, and softball fields. Tulsa's only BMX track, a uniquely wooded disc golf course, nearly a mile of river shore, playgrounds, a splash pad, and a well-paved and shaded trail.
The $6 million renovation will bring improvements and additions to Sand Springs's flagship park, but a simple Saturday morning stroll more than shows that River City Park doesn't need a renovation to be one of Sand Springs's greatest assets.