Monday, May 27, 2024

Gathering Place named Best City Park by USA Today

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The Gathering Place has been named the Best City Park in the country by USA Today for a second time.

Phase 1 of the Gathering Place opened in September 2018. The 66.5-acre park stretches along both sides of Riverside Drive for more than a mile, offering a mix of eye-popping and challenging attractions for children of all ages, a pond for kayaking and canoeing, basketball courts, a skate park, a lodge, a boathouse and other amenities.

“Gathering Place is honored to be voted Best City Park for the second time in the park’s five-year history,” Executive Director Julio Badin said in a statement. “This readers’ choice award is a testament to the incredible support we have received from the Tulsa community. We are humbled by how the community rallied to boost the park to the No. 1 spot, securing another accolade for our city.”

In 2019, the park was named USA Today’s Best New Attraction; in 2021, USA Today named Gathering Place the Best City Park in the country.

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Gathering Place beat out 19 other parks from across the country to win the award, including Balboa Park in San Diego, Boston Common in Massachusetts and Zilker Park in Austin.

The Gathering Place was created in large part with the largest private gift to a public park in U.S. history. Donated to the River Parks Authority by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which gave $200 million (including $50 million worth of land), it has received $200 million in pledges from corporate and community philanthropists. The city contributed $65 million in park infrastructure and improvements to Riverside Drive.

Twenty city parks across the U.S. were selected as finalists prior to a monthlong public vote. Also in the top 10 as voted on by the public were Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; Forest Park, St. Louis; Wildwood Preserve Metropark, Lucas County, Ohio; Klyde Warren Park, Dallas; Ala Moana Regional Park, Honolulu; Railroad Park, Birmingham, Alabama; Bruce Park, Greenwich, Connecticut; Falls Park on the Reedy, Greenville, South Carolina; and Loring Park, Minneapolis.

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