The design for the green space project approved by voters in the March General Obligation Bond Election got a green light from the Bartlesville City Council on Monday.
Dubbed “The Tower Green” by project consultants during the election, the project consists of constructing a public gathering space between the Price Tower and the Bartlesville Community Center, where Silas Street is currently located.
Voters approved the expenditure of $1.7 million for the project, and the “Tower Green Design Committee” was created by the City Council to oversee the design, budget and naming of the space — a five-month process that concluded last week.
The committee, which consists of City Councilors and committee co-chairs Alan Gentges and Jim Curd, Annah Fischer, Maria Gus, Jay Webster, Brad Doenges and Shelby Brammer, began working on the project in April. Since then, the committee has met 11 times and held five town hall-style meetings specifically for public input on the project. All meetings were open to the public, and citizens were allowed to speak at any time. The committee used information from these meetings combined with ideas from students from the School of Architecture at Taliesin, who participated in a weekend-long design “charette” in Bartlesville during which students broke into teams and produced sketches of possible design elements for the space after hearing ideas from the public and observing the annual Indian Summer Festival.
During the City Council meeting on Monday, Curd and Gentges outlined the committee’s recommendations concerning the design of the space, which include:
- A large multi-functional open lawn area on the west end of the space surrounded by trees and natural landscaped areas which is perfect for picnics, Frisbee, reading, relaxing, and other such activities
- A performance stage with restrooms and storage in the center of the space framed by two of Bartlesville’s iconic architectural gems that can comfortably accommodate over 400 people on the immediate lawn
- A centralized location for food truck service
- A centralized location for future interactive water fountains/public art feature within clear view of the performance stage and lawn area
- A more formal lawn area on the east end of the space adjacent to the Bartlesville Community Center which retains and repairs the existing fountain
- Natural rock, boulders, and native grasses will be located throughout the space providing opportunities to relax, play and interact.
The design was approved by the council with a unanimous vote.
A committee recommendation to name the space “The Green at Unity Square” was postponed and will be considered at a later date. Curd and Gentges also pointed out that despite an earlier discussion to possibly recommend an interactive water feature for the space, such a feature is not included in the project budget. Both agreed funding for a water feature could be sought in the future.
The next steps for the project involve proceeding with the design and awarding contracts for construction services, which must also be approved by the City Council. A long-scheduled drainage project involving the area will be completed prior to any construction at the space, and a committee/board representing both organizations will be created to oversee all operations, including performance bookings, marketing and maintenance. Construction will likely take nine to 12 months to complete.