City of Norman officials will cut the ribbon on the new Ruby Grant Community Park in a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon on December 4. The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on the City’s YouTube page, with in-person attendance limited to 50 guests to comply with the City’s current COVID-19 restrictions.
The Ruby Grant Park is a Norman Forward quality-of-life project built on 153-acres of former Grant family-farm land west located at 3110 W. Franklin Road. The property was left to the OU Foundation upon Ms. Grant’s passing, who then sold it to the City of Norman to be developed as a park. Proceeds of the sale were used to create endowment programs for music educators at the University of Oklahoma College of Music.
“Each time a Norman Forward project comes to life, it is a reminder to our entire community about what we can accomplish when we invest in ourselves,” said Mayor Breea Clark.
Following the ceremony, residents will have access to the park’s new inclusive playground, extensive walking and cross-country running trails, a new dog park, an 18-hole disc golf course, and large stone pavilions and restroom facilities spread throughout the park.
“This park has been a long time in the making and we are excited to finally get the first phase open to the public. The playground, disc golf course, walking and running trails, dog park and pavilions are awesome. We are happy to provide another Norman Forward quality of life project to the community,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jud Foster.
A new piece of public art will also be dedicated at the park in a separate ceremony at 1 p.m. with the Norman Arts Council. The event will also be live-streamed on the City’s YouTube page.
The art piece will be located along the concrete trail beginning at the Ruby Grant Memorial Shelter by the Franklin Road parking lot. Designed by Valerie Theberge Triptych is a trio of sculptures celebrating the City of Norman, the spirit of the park’s namesake Ruby Grant and the rhythm of the grounds itself. With joyful and uplifting colors, the mosaic glass-tiled pieces highlight and complement the natural setting, nodding to our community’s artistic, progressive, pioneering spirit with intricate hand-cut patterns.
“The artwork gives visitors a place to pause and commune with the surroundings,” Theberge said in the narrative explaining the inspiration and purpose behind the piece. “In the spirit of Ruby Grant, the sculptures are grouped facing each other and can be considered an outdoor classroom where people can gather and enjoy the wide array of flora and fauna.”
The Ruby Grant Park design is based on extensive citizen input dating back to 2008 and was completed by the Landscape Architecture firm of Howell & VanCuren of Tulsa. The $6 million contract was awarded to Crossland Construction.
Work will continue on the Norman Forward Youth Football Practice Fields located at the Ruby Grant Park after the opening. Crossland Construction will complete the $1.2 million project, which includes the development of the fields in the northwest corner of the park, adding an additional restroom at the Franklin Road entry, and paving portions of the granite walking trails in the park. This project is expected to be complete in 2021.
Norman Forward is a citizen-initiated proposal to renovate, expand, construct and fund Quality of Life projects, such as multiple recreational facilities, libraries, parks, athletic venues, public art, trails, swim complexes, and other quality of life projects throughout Norman. The initiative came to the City Council from community groups, stakeholders, and Norman residents, who prepared an initial package using analysis and information from recreational planning professionals and research firms. Norman voters approved the program by a 72% majority in 2015.