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Myriad Gardens to Reopen

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The Myriad Gardens and the Crystal Bridge, a major landmark in downtown Oklahoma City, have been closed for just slightly over a year due to major renovations.  The upgrades to the gardens are a part of Project 180, a $140 million dollar package that includes many different improvements to downtown OKC, including a redesign of the streets, parks, and plazas.  The construction began in August of 2010 and won’t be completely finished until January 2014.  As part of this year’s Festival of the Arts (April 26 – May 1), the Myriad Gardens will be reopening.

The renovations include giving the outdoor grounds and the Crystal Bridge a major makeover.  The Crystal Bridge will see all 3,000 acrylic panels replaced with new, clear panels.  The steel frame will also be deep cleaned to remove rust and old paint.  This means the bridge’s frosted-glass look will be replaced with al new, clear look.  A new south entrance is being installed that will connect to the new grand courtyard area.  It will feature a new Visitor Center, a drop off zone for buses, and new restrooms.  New lights are also being added to the bridge.  Check out these cool pictures by the company installing the new LED lighting system!

As for the gardens themselves, they will be updated with more convenient visitor areas.  These areas include a new multi-use space, a grand event lawn, a children’s garden, and, what I think are the best additions, a restaurant and café.  New water features, such as improvements to the water stage and new fountains, are also being added.

The entire budget for these renovations is $38 million.  The bridge repairs are coming from a 2007 voter-approved general bond, while the outdoor part of the project is being funded from Project 180 directly. 

I’m looking forward to seeing the new Myriad Gardens, and I’m hoping to get a chance to attend the Arts Festival this month.  However, one thing I’m not looking forward to is dealing with downtown parking.  The building of the new Devon Tower has shut down several of the main streets, making traffic a nightmare.  Hopefully, now that the gardens are reopening, the streets that border them will be opened back up, allowing for better traffic flow.  I can’t wait to see how downtown OKC transforms over the next few years, but I wish it could be done without all the detours!

More blogs on the Myriad Gardens and Project 180:

Brandy McDonnell has some cool videos of the interactive lighting being tested, although she also has a notice that the revamp may not be done in time for the Festival of the Arts.

Doug Dawgz has a really cool history of the Myriad Gardens on his blog up to 2008.

The DeepRoot blog features images from another portion of Project 180.

The Journal Record’s blog has a great image of some of those torn-up streets, plus a link to an article on how to deal with road construction!

Finally, Downtown on the Range has a drawing of the new Civic Center area, which looks really nice.

Tags: Events · Only in OKC       

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