TULSA, Okla. — Mayor G.T. Bynum announces the City’s plans to rename two iconic Tulsa parks at a press conference Thursday morning.
He was joined by members of the Tulsa City Council, Muscogee Nation Principal Chief David Hill, and members of Tulsa’s Native American Community and Veterans Community.
The City plans to rename the current Veterans Park, located at 18th and South Boulder Park Drive, to Dream Keepers Park. The renaming is to honor Tulsa's rich Native American history.
Veterans Park will then be relocated to the current site of Centennial Park, at 1028 East 6th Street, an area that is at the heart of local veterans’ activities and events.
“This is an opportunity to properly honor two of our most important communities in Tulsa: America’s veterans and Native Americans,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “Not only will the parks’ names be a way for us to show our appreciation, but we hope, in both cases, these parks become a centerpiece for cultural activities, celebrations, and educational programs in the future.”
City officials say the new locations could provide more opportunities for large-scale events and a wide range of opportunities for the community.
“The Park locations were chosen based on their proximity to other important entities within those constituent groups,” said Anna America, Chief of Culture and Recreation and Parks Director.
The term, “dream keepers” comes from an annual award given to citizens by the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission who exemplify strong character and have made a difference in their dedication to public service.
“The Commission is looking forward to partnering with the city to honor and commemorate our Dream Keepers award winners through the naming of this Park,” Cheryl Cohenour, Chairwoman of, Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission, said. “We chose the name, Dream Keepers because it is a word that is inclusive in all Tulsa-area tribes.”
Several veterans’ monuments will need to be relocated. Veterans’ groups hope to have a new sign and any monuments moved into place before September 2021, which marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Local veterans’ groups will coordinate the relocation of any monuments. Joshua Starks, Veterans Chair for the City’s Human Rights Commission says the new location will improve accessibility and provide better options for properly honoring and remembering Tulsans who served in the military.
“The new Veterans Park will provide easier access to our monuments and memorials, giving them the reverence, they deserve,” Starks said. “Walking along the trail will provide citizens with a visual remembrance of the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families.”
Following the announcement today, the mayor’s recommendation of the renaming is being sent to the Tulsa Parks Board and the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission this summer before going to the City Council for formal approval.
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