While it will not be a full functioning park by next week, the City of Guthrie announced Banner Park will soon be opening to the public.
In the early morning hours of May 9, 2014, the 79-year-old school building was engulfed in flames after being set on fire by juveniles. After a legal dispute, the City took over as the land owner.
“We thought it would be neat to keep the same characteristics of what once used to be a school, turning it into a park and serving kids,” Municipal Services Director Tenny Maker said.
In October 2017, the Guthrie city council approved the million dollar design for the park. However, the City has been able to save approximately thousands of dollars by working on the projects with city crew members.
“The guys have laid the sod, a lot of the concrete sidewalk, all of the concrete curb and gutter, set the trash receptacles and benches, built the pavilions, dirt work, water lines and drain lines were all done in-house,” Maker said.
The project, which has been funded through the Capital Improvements Projects sales tax, brings new amenities and options including small single-family picnic areas, the City’s first splash pad, handicap accessible playground, walking trails, parking, a Parks Department maintenance building and public restrooms.
“It really has been neat watching the change from once used to be a school in this area to a park,” Maker said.
City officials were hopeful to open the park in July, but are thankful for the patience from the community.
“Thank everyone for their patience. There will still be some bits and pieces that is not totally complete, but we are going to get it open up so the kids can get a taste of it and enjoy it before they have to get back to school,” Maker added.
A precise open date for the park, located on Warner Ave. between 10th and 11th Street, has not been announced, but Guthrie News Page will be sure to share once it becomes available.