Park Renovation Priorities
(Updated April 2005)
Priority #1 Continue Elmer Thomas Master Plan/Amenities
On October 9, 2001, the City Council approved the new Elmer Thomas Master Plan. The plan when fully constructed will provide southwest Oklahoma with one of the nicest metropolitan parks in Oklahoma. The amenities will include four cultural sites, prairie dog town and educational center, new parking lots, picnic pavilion with restrooms, fishing docks and non-motorized boating facilities, garden club horticulture center, amphitheater and pedestrian linkage through-out the park. With the support of the "Sport Fish Restoration Program" which is a cooperative effort involving federal and state fish and game agencies, the expansion of jetties to support the fishing quality will be a great asset. The conceptual theme of the amphitheater will be built with a Wichita Mountain Natural look to be available for concerts, plays, and other special events.
Urban fishing is a much needed resource for the continued recreational opportunities for Lawton/Ft. Sill. The Master Plan also calls for the development of a fishing dock and pier. This attraction will provide for the development of non-motorized boating activity.
(Funding has not been identified.) Estimated Cost: $1,200,000
Priority #2 Outdoor In-Line Hockey Rink/McMahon Park
One of the fastest growing sports in the United States is In-Line Hockey. The rise of this sport has been obvious in the Lawton/Ft. Sill community over the past eight years. The department believes that a in-line hockey facility should be a critical part of the Ten-Year Strategic Plan.
With the site plan developed for McMahon Park, the location for the in-line hockey rink is designed to go directly west of the Skate Park. This will compliment the Skate Park, which will be in operation in the summer of 2005.
Funding provided 2002 McMahon Foundation Grant. (In Progress) Estimated Cost: $200,000
Priority #3 City Wide Beautification Program
The Department has received numerous compliments from the public, City staff and City Officials for the addition of the five flowerbeds on Gore Boulevard. The response has been so great that the Department is proposing a yearly, five-step program to increase the number of flowerbeds, trees, irrigation systems, and associated landscaping throughout the City.
The plan will call for highlighting the main entrance to the City, I-44 Cache Road Overpass area, West & East Gore, Sheridan Road, and the South entrance on 11th Street. In addition to the installation and maintenance costs (approx. $20,000 per year), this priority will call for expanding the Landscape Section of the Parks & Grounds Division to include two additional full-time laborers and three seasonal laborers. This staffing cost is not reflected in the following construction cost estimate. Replacement of decorative light poles and fixtures need to complement various parks.
Stimulating Personal Pride is the Key to Community Beautification
The City of Lawton has a need to establish a conceptual landscape theme to build continuity throughout the community in relationship to beautification.
Recommendation: With the natural beauty of the Wichita Mountains north of the city as a distinct landmark for our region, the rugged rock formations in landscaping with native grasses, provide for an ideal landscaping theme for our City owned properties.
Concept points and ideas to consider and develop:
(1) Property owners of all entry arterial points to the City, should be required to have landscape fencing instead of barbed wire. This will provide as highlights for property development, and also property owners should be required to maintain a high level of maintenance on property.
(2) All businesses on frontage property on all main arterials, need to maintain a higher standard of maintenance and landscaping. (Home or Business) Locations: Sheridan Rd, Cache Rd, 38th, Lee, Gore, Ferris, Rogers Lane, Ft. Sill Blvd, 67th and 82nd Streets.
(3) As a starting point create the natural Wichita Mts. rugged rock formation theme within the Elmer Thomas Park centered around a new natural amphitheater and stage, and highlight arterial entry medians and right-a-ways with same landscape concepts.
(4) An untapped water source within the City limits, lies in the central corridor at Sheridan Rd and D Ave. An artesian well exists at this location, which would allow for unlimited irrigation water for the central corridor of the community. Develop an irrigation system to serve Sheridan Rd. (An agreement with the property owner would be required to access.)
(5) In the past few years on Ft. Sill, a rock quarry has been established because of surplus rock removed from the construction site of the new highway expansion leading to Lake Lawtonka. An agreement with the City of Lawton and Ft. Sill needs to be established allowing the City of Lawton to access and remove rock materials for landscaping within the City of Lawton as needed on an unlimited basis. (Lawton/ Ft. Sill Coop is working on this plan.)
(6) The infrastructure for water irrigation needs to be established throughout the city medians and right a ways.
(7) A litter patrol and weed abatement division needs to be established as an additional division within the Parks and Recreation Department.
(8) A concrete crew focusing on curb and sidewalk enhancements need to be established with the Public Works Department.
(Funding has not been identified.) Estimated Cost: $3,300,000
Priority #4 McMahon Auditorium Improvements - Phase II
The McMahon Auditorium is the premier facility of the Parks and Recreation Department and one of the focal points of the entire City. Many areas of the facility and the facility grounds are in need of renovation and improvements.
The parking lot and the grounds of the Auditorium are also in need of repair and renovation. Cracks in the parking lot have been addressed on a spot repair basis. It is time for the entire parking area to be resurfaced before major damage occurs from neglect. The grounds of this facility do not reflect the quality that is desired for this facility. Significant attention needs to be given to turf restoration and management and overall landscape beautification.
(Funding has not been identified.) Estimated Cost: $400,000
Priority #5 Westside Community Park
The West side of our Community, (west of 38th Street) has the present need for a Community Park. This area, although having numerous neighborhood parks, is lacking the services and facilities a Community Park offers.
A Community Park provides unique recreational facilities for a community made up of several neighborhoods. This park should be located on an arterial street and accessible by pedestrians and bicyclists. A park of this type would typically contain: a swimming pool, lighted par 3 golf course, pedestrian and exercise trails, large picnic areas with shelters, landscaped areas to buffer adjacent developments, and a Community Center. Property for this type of Community Park has not been identified.
(Funding has not been identified.) Estimated Cost: $3,000,000
Priority #6 Expansion of Owens Recreation Center/For Senior Programs after Relocation of Administration Offices
The Owens Recreation Center is housed in the Owens Multipurpose Center and shares space with the City's Human Resources Department, the Head Start Program and the Department's administrative offices. The Recreation Center serves the southern portion of the City's central corridor. The Center plays an important part in providing constructive leisure alternatives for the youth of this area.
The facility during most mornings, within the school months, is not being used. With the expansion of facilities that accommodate senior programs, would able expanded services to the community.
(Funding has not been identified.) Estimated Cost: $500,000
Priority #7 Aquatic Center/Spray Pool
To meet the present needs of the City, a modern aquatic center needs to be constructed in the largest growing populated corridor of the community, which is the west side. The central corridor, which is the largest populated portion of the community has an existing municipal pool that holds approximately 250 participants.
A new aquatic center will have the amenities that people expect in today's modern facilities. Amenities such as ADA accessibility, comfortable deck chairs, large dressing and shower rooms, modern concession stand, slides, water sprays and other recreation attractions. The recommended location for this facility would be in the Westside Community Park, a need for other aquatic facilities for children are needed in the east and west corridors of our community. The Spray Pool similar to the one built in George M. Lee needs to be built on the east, west, and central portions of Lawton. The old Doe Doe Park property known today as "The Bridge", has been selected as the Central corridor location for a Spray Park.
(Funding has not been identified.) Estimated Cost: $3,300,000
Priority #8 City of Lawton Community Center
The proposed Westside Community park has the potential to become one of Lawton's most attractive Community Parks. A new multi-purpose community recreation center is needed to serve the whole community. Other facilities at the park would include an aquatic center , soccer fields and a walking/bike trail.
A new community recreation center would include the following: gymnasium with two courts, showers & lockers, small auditorium, connecting multi-purpose rooms, full kitchen, fitness room, offices, lobby restrooms, and janitorial facilities.
(Funding has not been identified.) Estimated Cost: $4,500,000
Priority #9 Historical Old Town Site and Outdoor Theater
The proposed Heritage Park, located in the eastern most part of Elmer Thomas Park near Old Town (commonly called Ramada park), would preserve historical buildings of Lawton and Southwest Oklahoma and house an outdoor theater for citizen's use. Lawton should preserve the history of the community through preservation and maintenance of historic structures.
Many historical buildings have been lost because there was no designated site for their location. This site could serve as a focus on the heritage of the area by including teepees, frontier structures and other historic buildings that could be lost due to neglect or urban renewal. Also the 'old town' store fronts of past landmark buildings could be recreated. Visitors could walk through the streets and lanes of the park and have an authentic frontier experience. Reenactments and Powwows could be held at the site with plays as 'Oklahoma Opening' performed during our recent Centennial. This could promote future bus tours as annual attraction.
(Funding has not been identified.) Estimated Cost: $1,500,000
Proposed Concept in Ramada Park
Historical Old Town Site