On September 8, Tulsa celebrated the grand opening of Gathering Place, a new park beside the Arkansas River near the city’s Maple Ridge neighborhood. The goal behind it, says Executive Park Director Tony Moore, is to bring together Tulsans from all walks of life so they can enjoy a shared experience. That’s not unusual—but Gathering Place is very different from the average public park in its variety of spaces and sheer scale.
The first phase of Gathering Place is a huge 66.5 acres. (Once the second and third phases of construction are completed, the park will span 100 acres.) The George Kaiser Family Foundation, joined by other foundations and businesses, covered the $465 million price tag—the largest private donation to a public park in U.S. history. The park’s designers are Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the landscape architects responsible for Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, and other well-known urban public spaces.