A circus, a 5K run and maybe a fancy dinner and auction are all things the Luther Parks Commission is planning to raise money to fix Luther’s Wildhorse Park. The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus is coming September 30, 2020, and the Wildhorse 5K + Fun Run is next month. The gala type event is to be determined.
The Parks Commission met for its March meeting at Town Hall on Thursday. Members Kasey Wood, chair, David Shelden, Denielle Chaney, Chris Ivich and Rosemarie Strong began studying the recently released long-awaited concept plan produced by the OU Institute for Quality Communities. Luther was accepted into the OU program last year and groups, including students, from Norman came to Luther a couple of times last fall to tour the park and to hold a community dream meeting.
From the OUIQC report:
While Wild Horse Park has a strong history and is still well-loved by community members, it has not received significant investment in many years. The current playground equipment was built in the 1950s and a historic stone structure constructed by volunteers decades ago, is boarded and vacant. The park has no marked parking spaces and only portable, seasonal restrooms.The park lacks adequate lighting, walking and biking paths, and infrastructure for bathrooms and a concession stand with modern food service equipment.
Overall, Wild Horse Park has great potential to be a safe and fun space for Luther residents and its visitors. Located conveniently off Route 66, Wild Horse Park could give travelers access to one of Luther’s finest and most historical assets.”
The concept plan recommends three overarching goals for the design of Wild Horse Park, based on community feedback and site-specific opportunities:
- Establish a connection to Route 66
- Celebrate local heritage
- Include natural play opportunities
Meanwhile, most locals just want some modern and safe playground equipment, no stickers in the grass, a basketball court and also a place to picnic, park and go to the bathroom. Any one of those things come with a hefty price tag. Estimates for a new bathroom alone are at $150,000.
Walking trails, a stocked pond and a new road into the park directly from Route 66 are also in the OUIQC concept.
What is not in the concept is money to pay for it. So the Parks Commission keeps plugging away with fun fund-raising events like the Christmas event in December, 5K in April and the circus in September. The commission also is researching grants and sweet-talking potential donors. They are even considering the establishment of a new non-profit organization, something like a Friends of Wildhorse Park, to take on the big job of raising big money.
If you want to run for the park, sign up here. The Wildhorse 5K + Fun Run is on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Check in at 8 am and lineup at 8:45 am.
The circus will be on the last Wednesday of September. Circus organizers say anyone is invited to watch the bigtop set up that morning, and buy tickets to the two 90-minute shows to be performed late that afternoon and evening.