Behind the Lens: Can a Park Heal Racial Rifts?

Photos and musings from our photographer.
by | December 2018
The Gathering Place park in Tulsa, Oklahoma
(David Kidd)

The citizens of Tulsa, Okla., have a brand-new, state-of-the-art city park. And it didn’t cost them a cent.

The $465 million project is the brainchild of billionaire and lifelong Tulsa resident George Kaiser. His hope for the park, called the Gathering Place, is to unite residents. Like so many other cities, Tulsa has a history of racial and economic division.

“We got more and more divided over time by geography, race and class,” Kaiser recently told The New York Times. “So getting people together is step one.”

Visitors to the 66-acre park can immerse themselves in landscaping inspired by local limestone cliffs, explore the 160-plus climbing structures, test their skateboarding skills, play basketball and volleyball, rent a kayak, or grab a drink and a bite to eat at the park’s central meeting place, the Williams Lodge.

Work has already begun to expand the park to 100 acres, and Kaiser has created a $100 million endowment to maintain the park now and into the future.

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David Kidd | Design Director | dkidd@governing.com