Sapulpa’s Best-Kept Secret
New Parks Directory Jody Baker is getting the word out about Sapulpa’s parks.
When was the last time you or your family visited any one of Sapulpa’s many parks and recreational facilities? To commune with nature or enjoy indoor or outdoor recreation with your friends, family, and neighbors, is both physically and mentally stimulating. Right here in Sapulpa, citizens have a multitude of indoor and outdoor recreational choices offered by the plethora of park facilities.
The Aquatics Center is a state-of-the-art facility with a swimming pool with an inches-deep end, for toddlers, splash pad and concessions.
Booker T. Washington offers a variety of programs, such as indoor sports, computer workstations, a gym, a game room and multipurpose rooms for events.
Davis Park is a 15-acre family park that includes a small ballfield, playground, two picnic shelters, natural rock-lined stream, lighted basketball court, a half-mile hard-surfaced trail, and a horseshoe-pitching facility.
Heritage Park is a wonderful example of a well-equipped playground park. Hollier Park offers 26 acres of outdoor recreation and a scenic view overlooking Creek County. McGoy Park offers picnic and play areas.
Kelly Lane Park is one of the most scenic parks in the city. It encompasses 69 acres and it contains an Arboretum, Deep Wetlands, and Outdoor Nature Classroom, walking trails, a pond for children to fish in, baseball field, covered picnic areas, outdoor gym equipment, a skateboard park, and the latest in playground equipment.
Liberty Park contains the Aquatics Center, the Jubilee Playground, two other playground areas, a half-mile lighted trail, sand play unit, two covered picnic shelters, lighted tennis courts, a tennis practice wall, lighted basketball courts, and two sand volleyball courts.
Pretty Water Lake is a beautiful, 25-acre, spring-fed lake that has a pedestrian bridge, waterfall, is stocked with trout during trout season and stocked with catfish during the catfish season. There is a fishing dock, restrooms, and is ADA accessible.
Sahoma Lake is a 340-acre lake that offers hunting, fishing, camping, and boating opportunities. It has a heated, indoor fishing dock, restrooms, a concession and bait shop
The Sapulpa Senior Citizen Community Center is home to the Senior Nutrition Meals program and Sapulpa Artists’ Guild. The Senior Center offers a variety of programs and activities for seniors as well as providing programs and activities for adults. The Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Offices are contained in the Senior Center.
Wickham Park offers outdoor recreation and play areas.
Youth Sports Complex is home to Youth Baseball, Youth Soccer, and Girls Softball.
The Sapulpa Times interviewed Parks and Recreation Director, Jody Baker, to discuss the new playground equipment and other improvements to Kelly Lane Park, as well as his vision for Sapulpa Parks and Recreation.
Director Baker explained that playgrounds are a vital part of providing children the benefits of play. “These benefits go far beyond being physically active. Children develop emotional, social, cognitive, creativity, and communication skills when they interact with play structures and other children. We always account for ADA accessibility and current safety standards.”
The new playground structure in Kelly Lane is manufactured by Burke Playground Equipment. The new structure has unique elements, such as circular monkey bars with different angular surfaces, Pod Bridges, climbing structures, twisting slides, and a double slide meant to be climbed up the middle. Baker feels, however, that the most exciting element is the “Evolve Climbing Tower and the Cobra Slide.” This structure allows Sapulpa Parks to offer a 12-foot slide that fits in the site footprint and offers an exciting and challenging rope-climbing element that is the first of its kind to be installed anywhere in the United States!
Baker explained the designs featured in the new skateboard park, such as, the “pump track,” which enables skateboarders and bicyclists to increase their speed.
When asked about the stigma of skateboard parks, concerning a “bad crowd,” Baker explained that many cities will put a skateboard park in an isolated area, fenced off from anything else. This promotes a “sub-culture” of kids who will use the park. By integrating the skateboard facility into a family park, it is utilized by a more diverse demographic.
Baker had applied for three grants for Kelly Lane Park: one for the pedestrian bridge and the eastern expansion of the Kelly Lane; a skateboard park; and the new playground structure. The expansion project was the only one awarded to the City. Baker applied the $40,000 in matching funds toward the two projects that were denied and the wonderfully generous Rotary Club raised the rest of the money.
Director Baker said that Kelly Lane is the first major playground renovation, but the Parks Department is working on ideas and plans for more playgrounds to come. Baker envisions more “programmable spaces” and seeks to create spaces where Sapulpans can identify those spaces with regular events, such as the Annual Easter Egg Hunt always taking place in Kelly Lane Park.
Sapulpa is indeed fortunate to have such a highly skilled, dedicated Parks and Recreation Director, who has a passion for recreation, and understands that recreational facilities are an integral part of any city’s economic development.
About the Author
Long-time Sapulpa resident, Charles Betzler, followed his father, Charlie, into the radio and TV repair business. At age 9, he fixed his first broken radio and his first love is vintage audio equipment. In his 50 + years of technical work, graduation from OSUIT, and years of Continuing Education, Charles, in his capacity as Emergency Management Director of nearby city, designed the Emergency Operations Center, and the radio-activation system for the sirens. In his long career, he has repaired every type of consumer electronics from black-and-white TVs to the latest lap-top.