Norman Transcript: Station at Central Park opens with fanfare in Moore
Norman Transcript - Kyle Phillips
The grand opening of the Station at Central Park was a time of dedication, reflection and celebration for the Moore community.
This has got to be a record for a ribbon-cutting, quipped Mayor Glenn Lewis to the crowd seated and standing around the front walkways of the new facility Saturday morning.
Food trucks lined up along the road, train conductors in full suit and character twisted balloons into dinosaurs and flowers, Sooner athletes signed posters and residents of all ages anticipated their first look inside.
Gov. Mary Fallin, Rep. Tom Cole and Rep. Mark McBride got a pre-ceremony tour of the building before giving their remarks at a lectern set up outside.
"It almost made me cry," said Governor Fallin, who remembered seeing the community through so many hard times over the years.
She said she could imagine all of the children and adults who would be shooting basketball, jogging on the track and enjoying the farmers market in the coming weeks as workers finalized construction.
"That's what this gathering place will be," Fallin said. "A very special place for a very special community."
The Governor also recognized the lost.
"We wont forget, there are a lot of Moore families that arent with us today," Fallin said, and added she wished the national media could see just how strong the community has come back.
"Come see Moore," she said. "Come see Moore today and what they have made."
Principal Architect Anthony McDermid of TAP Architecture highlighted the historical significance of the station, and how that history played into the design of the park.
"Next Friday will be 127 years since trains first came down this track," he said, gesturing to the rails on the other side of the parking lot where a train had passed by just minutes before.
The design of the Station fully embraces the history of the railroad, from the model engine donated by Dental Depot parked out front to the train-shaped playground and water structures around the grounds.
McDermid, who has been building in Oklahoma for almost 30 years, said that Oklahoma cities are new cities, and the things being built now are a lasting legacy for future generations in the state.
"As a city boy with a passion for cities, Im a firm believer that great cities have great parks," McDermid said. "This project is part of Moore's legacy, a part of the legacy of everyone here. You should be proud. Really proud."
All of the speakers expressed gratitude for the leadership that drove the project through to completion, and the community that not only signed on to the idea, but agreed to pay for it with their 2012 vote. There was special recognition for Assistant City Manager Todd Jenson, who McDermid said literally birthed this thing, as well as admiration for Atlas General Contractors who stayed the course through the wettest year in the history of the state.
Speakers thanked the family of Dr. Curtis Berry for selling the property to the city at a greatly discounted rate, making it possible to build a park complex that spans 51 acres in central Moore and includes an amphitheater, walking trail, aquatic center, state-of-the-art exercise equipment and classes, playground, seasonal farmers market and an abundance of open gathering space.
The event concluded with the ceremonial tapping of a golden spike by elected leaders and nine-year-olds Katherine Liebegott and Kinsley Paul, followed by a ribbon cutting in front of the main entrance.
When the doors swung open, guests were greeted with goody bags, live music, bottled water, and tables full of fruit, pastries, and cake to enjoy as they toured the facility.
Passes to the Station are available for purchase, with prices beginning at $6 for a resident day pass up to a variety of annual family pass options. On-site child care is also available and included in some passes. More information about the Station at Central Park and its programs is available at www.centralpark.cityofmoore.com.
Mayor Lewis said the Station at Central Park serves as a testament to the world that Moore is still here and still growing.
Online: The Norman Transcript