Finally, a resolution to the B.C. Franklin Park renovation ruckus is near.
After years of haggling between neighborhood residents and the city of Tulsa — a dispute that included a lawsuit — an apparent low-bidder was selected Friday morning to construct nearly $800,000 in park improvements.
The bid, for $786,643 from Magnum Construction, will not be official until it has been certified by the city’s Legal Department. The project will be paid for with surplus 2006 third-penny sales tax revenue and funds donated to the Parks Department.
Assuming the bid is certified, work is expected to begin in 60 to 90 days, city officials said Friday.
“We are excited about it,” said Vanessa Hall-Harper. “We are going to plan a ground-breaking for probably in September.”
Hall has led the neighborhood charge to build new amenities at the park. A group she helped organize has worked for more than a year to see the project through, holding public meetings and one-on-one talks with city officials.
Parks Director Lucy Dolman said she is pleased to see it finally move forward.
“This process has been a long one,” Dolman said. “It’s lasted almost three years. I think people will be thrilled with what we’re doing.”
The amenities to be added to the park include: a Black Wall Street-themed playground, an adult outdoor fitness center, benches, shelters with tables, barbecue grills, a bike rack, picnic tables, a drinking fountain, and trail and parking lot improvements.
The only feature that will remain from the current park is the playground on the south side of the property.
The dispute over what amenities should be added to Franklin Park goes back at least four years, when city officials announced plans to remove the park’s swimming pool and recreation center.
The city has spent the last several years demolishing dilapidated pools and recreation centers and replacing them with self-directed activities such as walking trails and water playgrounds at parks across the city.
Officials say the city does not have the funding to repair, maintain and operate many of its recreation centers and pools.
In 2012, A Tulsa County district judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by six Tulsans seeking to prevent the demolition of park’s recreation center.
The park’s pool is closed and will be removed as part of the park renovation. The recreation center has been demolished.
B.C. Franklin Park sits on 16 acres. It built in the early the early 1970s.