Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa Garden Plan Unveiled: Centennial Project Would Include Lake, Amphitheater, Trails

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa Garden Plan Unveiled: Centennial Project Would Include Lake, Amphitheater, Trails

Article excerpt

Planners believe the centennial botanical garden in Tulsa, when it's fully equipped, will be as dramatic and educational as any botanical garden in the United States.

A master plan for the 300-acre, $40 million Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden/Research and Education Center was unveiled Thursday at the Post Oak Lodge in Tulsa. The project will be located seven miles northwest of downtown Tulsa, in the Osage Hills area.

The garden's overall master plan, which will take several years to accomplish, includes 15 major gardens, 60 smaller gardens and a 17-acre lake, along with a visitor center, restaurant and gift shop, education center, interfaith chapel, 3,000-seat amphitheater, children's garden, oriental gardens on islands in the lake, a horticultural therapy garden, demonstration gardens and hiking areas.

The $15 million first phase will include the visitor center, the lake with oriental gardens, a children's garden, the horticultural therapy garden and a few gardens on the perimeter, said Pat Woodrum, the project's interim executive director.

Tulsans Gentner Drummond and Tom Atherton are donating 300 acres of land for the garden. The property is among 1,100 acres that Gentner and Atherton bought a few years ago from Williams Cos.

Gentner and Atherton will lease the land for the garden for 99 years for $1 and deed the land over to garden organizers when the facility reaches a certain development stage.

They gave us our choice of the 300 acres. It's a wonderful, wonderful contribution, Woodrum said.

A bill has already been introduced in the state Legislature that would fund the first phase. Woodrum believes the funding will be approved.

Garden planners expect to get $2 million from the Oklahoma Centennial Commission, which will pay for construction drawings, preliminary site work and staff, as well as $10 million from the private sector and additional money from local colleges and universities.

Ultimately, planners expect the gardens will draw 400,000 to 500,000 visitors a year, based on attendance levels at the Tulsa Zoo and other local attractions. That number could be higher when The American - a 21-story-high bronze statue of a Native American brave - is constructed at nearby Holmes Peak for the state's centennial celebration. …

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