Reporting | Don Kramp
Managing Editor | Liz Frank
Tulsa, Okla. – Demolition began earlier this month to remove fixtures in Archer Park at East Archer Street and North Delaware Place, some of which have gone unused for more than 20 years, according to one local resident.
Archer Park’s amenities once featured a pool that was used by area families for cooling off during hot Oklahoma summers until the pool and its associated shower facilities were closed during a string of city pool closures between 1997 and 2002. Other amenities that have been scrapped include basketball courts and their enclosure fencing.
Crews have worked diligently in the heat for more than a week, tearing down the structures and hauling them away for scrap, leaving nothing but bare earth behind.
The project covers about 1 acre, which makes up nearly a fourth of Archer Park’s overall area. Curious residents have contacted the city about what they plan to do with the western quarter of the park. Strangely, calls to the City of Tulsa as well as the Tulsa Park and Recreation Department yielded no answers for the community. Emails to city officials have also gone unanswered at the time of this publication.
While Archer Park’s pool has been closed for some time, the park potentially offers another option for local area residents to get relief from summer heat: the splash pad. Though the park’s splash pad, a perennial favorite with the area’s children, isn’t included in the demolition plans, it is still currently closed because of the construction. The nearest operational splash pad, which was built in 2013, is in Kendall-Whittier park, but it is over a mile away.
Despite efforts in the early 2000s to shut down pools with low attendance or in disrepair, there are several remaining pools for city residents. Lacy Municipal Park has the closest pool to Archer Park, but is over three miles away, which is a challenging commute to some area residents without transportation, including children. Other than Lacy Park, there are only two other public pools north of Admiral Avenue: Berry Municipal and O’Brien Park.