- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The George Kaiser Family Foundation has made a $350 million pledge for a planned park in Tulsa.

The River Parks Authority Board of Trustees accepted the foundation’s pledge for the park called “A Gathering Place for Tulsa” on Thursday, the Tulsa World reported (http://bit.ly/1pwHxc6 ).

“This is a gift which will enhance and expand the recreational and educational offerings of River Parks, and we are honored to partner with the George Kaiser Family Foundation in carrying out the amazing adventure of the Gathering Place,” said Robin Ballenger, chairman of the River Parks Authority Board Chairman. “It will make a huge and wonderful difference to the city of Tulsa.”

The foundation is contributing about $200 million to build the park, including $50 million worth of land. The charity has also set a $150 million goal it wants to raise in private donations to help fund the park’s construction. It has received more than $115 million so far in contributions.

The park’s project manager Jeff Stava said the foundation had always intended to gift the park to Tulsa.

“This is the way for us to express that gift, by donating it to River Parks - which is a Title 60 authority - and the beneficiaries are the city of Tulsa and Tulsa County,” he said.

The park’s construction is expected to finish in 2017. Its official groundbreaking has been set for Sept. 20.

“It is just going to be a game-changer,” said Matt Meyer, executive director of the River Parks trustees board. “This is a world-class facility that we are going to be partnering with.”

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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