Magazine article Parks & Recreation

A-OK in Oklahoma

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

A-OK in Oklahoma

Article excerpt

Tulsa, Okla.

With a population of 400,000, Tulsa is one of the largest Sportstowns selected in 2003. The city's vision statement is: "Tulsa will continue to be a dynamic city of the past, present and future committed to being an cvcr-increasingly desirable community in which to live, work and play." In that spirit, the Tulsa Parks and Recreation Department, with an annual budget of $24 million, 281 full-time employees, and 208 part-time employees, capably serves the needs of a large community.

Tulsa Parks manages 140 parks covering some 6,000 acres, including two 36-hole golf courses, 22 swimming pools, 202 sports fields (63 of which are maintained as game fields), 92 playgrounds, 116 tennis courts, 26 water playgrounds, 20 community centers, the River SkatePark, the Tulsa Zoo, and more than 30 miles of recreation trails. Not surprisingly, programs are available to citizens of every age, area of interest and ability level.

The department sponsors literally dozens of leagues in every season of tlie year, both youth and adult, such as competitive swimming, T-ball, basketball, flag football, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics and more. Sports and fitness at community centers include everything from aerobics to disc golf to Tae Kwon Do to tennis lessons. Tulsa Parks has lighted and unlighted ball fields and tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, gyms, basketball courts, a skatepark and fishing piers.

The philosophy of all Tulsa Parks sports programs is to provide an opportunity for skill improvement, sportsmanship, physical fitness and fellowship, with youth sports programs designed to bring kids closer together through positive recreational competition and to keep their safety and welfare first and foremost. But with a wealth of programs available, competitive leagues are offered in a tremendous variety of sports and disciplines, and not just for kids. For example, for the past 16 years, Tulsa Parks has hosted the Oklahoma Senior Olympics, a seven-day sports competition for men and women ages 50 and older In 1987, 88 seniors participated in the first state games; by 2002, the number of athletes competing had reached 600.

Six community centers offer basic fundamental sports skills designed to introduce kids ages 3-5 to a specific sport activity. More than 35 four-week sessions are offered in both the spring and the fall; these classes incorporate the parents as coaches, who play alongside their children to encourage them and keep them on task. …

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