'The Gathering Place' to open in September

TULSA -- "The Gathering Place" is set to open on Riverside in Tulsa on Sept. 8.

The announcement was made during a news conference on Friday morning. 

Park Director Tony Moore said there will be a 100-day grand opening celebration for the park. Part of the festivities will include a performance from the hip hop band The Roots, who play on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. 

"It's an attempt for locals, for Tulsans, to embrace a common space. A space to hang out, a place to be together with your family, a place for recreation," Moore said.

Close to 30,000 students got a sneak peek this spring. Now they're excited to come back with their families in the fall.

"When my school friends went, my younger friends, when they came back they were like (makes shocked face) so if that's how all Tulsa is going to be, I think that's how they're going to be," student park ambassador Ariana Reagor said.

The $465 million park along Riverside, gifted to the River Parks Authority by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, has been under construction for several years. It represents the largest private gift to a public park in U.S. history. Students say it's hard to pick a favorite part.

"Probably the thing I love the most is the reading tree and the Chapman Adventure playground... and everything pretty much," Reagor said.

The park's features include playgrounds, skate and bike parks, kayak, canoe and paddle boat rentals, a great lawn, lounge area and more. 

"We would like to share with all of Tulsa, at a national level, arguably a global level, how unique of a park this is, how awesome a park this is, the civic functions behind it, and unifying the city," Moore said.

Riverside Drive is also expected to reopen this summer. The opening date will be announced on Monday, officials said. 

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