*UPDATED: Events postponed due to severe weather, will now be held on October 18.
Norman Forward Football Fields and Gems will be unveiled at 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm, respectively.
On Monday, October 18, the City of Norman celebrates two new features at Ruby Grant Park, located at 3110 W. Franklin Road, with two back-to-back ribbon-cutting events: the Norman Forward Youth Football Fields and an art installation titled Gems by artist Nathan Pratt.
The Parks and Recreation Department will start the celebration at 5:30 p.m. in the Northwest corner of the park to unveil the new Youth Football Fields. The fields will provide local youth football groups with another much-needed space to practice in Norman. This was one of the very first needs identified by the community when planning the Norman Forward quality-of-life program. “Ruby Grant Park just keeps getting better with each phase we’re able to open, and we are excited to finally get to open the Football Fields to local teams and groups. The Parks Department is happy to provide another Norman Forward quality-of-life project to the community and can’t wait to see teams start using these fields,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jason Olsen.
At 6:30 p.m., the City will unveil Gems, the newest art installation in Ruby Grant Park’s playground pavilion, located at 4343 NW 36th Avenue. Gems is part of a partnership between the City of Norman, installation artist Nathan Pratt, Norman Public Arts Board, OG&E, Illuminating Engineering Society of Oklahoma City, and the Norman Arts Council. Gems features a collection of twenty-five illuminated firefly sculptures that reflect Ruby Grant’s virtues. The fireflies were cast locally at the Crucible Foundry in Norman and made possible by substantial production donations from OG&E and the Illuminating Engineering Society of Oklahoma. Oklahoman artist Nathan Pratt has created hundreds of sculptures in various mediums throughout his career. Pratt, a University of Oklahoma alumnus, brings his talents back to Norman with his latest creation, Gems. “It is my hope that Ruby Grant’s legacy will be illuminated each time the public sees this installation,” said Pratt. “I am grateful to participate in the creative process that honors the desires of a true gem in this community.” Ruby Grant, the park’s namesake, was a beloved educator with a passion for children, the arts, and nature.
About Norman Forward
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. For more information about Norman Forward, visit normanok.gov or follow us on Facebook.
About Ruby Grant Park
Ruby Grant Community Park is a 157-acre park located at I-35 and Franklin Road which had been the site of the Grant Family Farm until the sole heir, Ruby Grant, left the land to the OU Foundation upon her death, with the hopes that it be sold to the City of Norman for use as a park—with the proceeds of the sale going to endow programs at the OU School of Music Education. The City acquired the land in the early 2000's and developed a Master Plan based on extensive community input shortly after its purchase. Its development was made a part of the Norman Forward funding package in 2015. When that funding was approved, the original design team of Howell & VanCuren, Landscape Architects, produced construction drawings and construction was awarded to Crossland Construction. The $7,800,000 budget included costs for the construction of the major infrastructure components for the park as well an extensive walking trail and a 5K natural surface running course, practice sports areas, a large inclusive playground, an 18-hole disc golf course, 3-acre dog park, large stone and timber pavilions and restroom buildings, parking lots and custom park signage and fencing.