Lyon Foundation OKs $250,000 grant for Tower Center at Unity Square

The Lyon Foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant to the City of Bartlesville for the Tower Center at Unity Square, the organization announced today.

“We were notified today that our request for grant funding in the amount of $250,000 for this project has been approved by the Lyon Foundation Board,” said City Manager Mike Bailey. “This is tremendously good news. The additional funding will allow us to add facilities to the Tower Center at Unity Square design that were not originally included in the General Obligation Bond, passed by voters last year.”

Voters approved $1.75 million for the downtown community green space project in the General Obligation Bond Election held March 6, 2018. The space will be located between the Price Tower and the Bartlesville Community Center, at Sixth Street and Dewey Avenue, and will be maintained and operated by both organizations. Silas Street in that area has been closed to facilitate the project.

The approved funding will provide for the construction of the majority of the project, including:

  • A large multi-functional open lawn area on the west end of the space surrounded by trees and natural landscaped areas
  • A performance stage in the center of the space and an immediate lawn area to accommodate more than 400 people
  • A centralized location for food truck service
  • A centralized location for future interactive fountains and/or a public art feature
  • A more formal lawn area on the east end of the space adjacent to the BCC that retains and repairs the existing fountain
  • Natural rock, boulders and native grasses throughout the space

The Lyon Foundation grant will allow for the additional construction of on-site restrooms and a storage facility in the stage proximity to accommodate bands and others performing at the venue.

“The City Council, as well as the citizen-council committee tasked with overseeing recommendations for the design, felt strongly that these additional facilities were needed,” Bailey said. “However, funding was an issue. We contacted the Lyon Foundation to ask for help, and they have generously agreed to provide the full amount of funding we requested. I know I speak for all of us — the City Council, the committee and City staff — in saying ‘Thank you.’ We could not be more grateful.”

Bailey said a campaign to accept donations for other additions to the space is in the planning stages and will be announced soon. These donations will be used to add back high priority design elements that were cut from the original design due to budget shortfalls or to add additional interactive features, art and other site amenities.

“We have heard from several individuals and organizations that are interested in donating,” he said. “We are looking at the best way to proceed with this and will have details available very soon. This is one of most highly anticipated projects we’ve had, and it’s going to be a great addition to Bartlesville. We’re excited about it, and we appreciate the public’s enthusiasm and willingness to participate.”

The design committee will meet at noon Wednesday at City Hall, 401 S. Johnstone Ave., to consider approval for final recommendations to the City Council next month. The council is expected to consider final approved of the project design during a meeting set for July 1. Both meetings are open to the public.

Pending council approval, construction could start in mid to late July. Substantial construction is expected to take approximately six months to complete the project.

The Lyon Foundation was established in 1978 by E.H. “Ted” and Melody Lyon of Bartlesville, according to the organization’s website. The foundation has awarded upwards of $34 million to more than 170 organizations in Washington County and the surrounding area.