CN, Tahlequah officials partner for splash pad
8/22/2013 8:51:34 AM
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Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols, left sitting, watches Principal Chief Bill John Baker, right sitting, on Aug. 8 sign a lease on a Cherokee Nation-owned property that will be the new site of a splash pad for the city in 2014. They were joined by, left to right in back, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Northeastern State President Steve Turner, Miss Cherokee Christy Kingfisher, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd and CN Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Donelson. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols, left sitting, watches Principal Chief Bill John Baker, right sitting, on Aug. 8 sign a lease on a Cherokee Nation-owned property that will be the new site of a splash pad for the city in 2014. They were joined by, left to right in back, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Northeastern State President Steve Turner, Miss Cherokee Christy Kingfisher, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd and CN Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Donelson. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY JAMI CUSTER Reporter TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation signed a 25-year lease on Aug. 8 with the city of Tahlequah to build a splash pad that will be free for all community members – Cherokee and non-Cherokee. According to a CN press release, the agreement made with the city allows officials to build the water playground on .72 acres of tribally owned land located downtown. “The city will lease the space for $1 a year,” the release states. The splash pad, which has yet to be named, will be located at the corner of Downing and Water streets. Mayor Jason Nichols said during the signing that the plan is to have the site constructed by March or early April in 2014. “But with the help of the Cherokee Nation we’re going to spend another $183,000…that will put this facility in place that will improve the quality of life for Cherokee children and non-Cherokee children,” Nichols said. The splash pad will offer picnic tables, dumping water buckets, a foam pad, water shooters, two water wheels as well as other water-related toys. Principal Chief Bill John Baker said that this is the best use of this property. “We truly believe that for the next 25 years, this is the highest and best use of that property for the Cherokee Nation,” Baker said. “It will help our youth, the tourism. It helps tie our parks together when we try to attract people to see the courthouse, to see the Supreme Court, to see the jail…this is just one more plus why people might want to come to Tahlequah.” Baker added that the partnership between the city and the CN will improve the lives of Cherokee and non-Cherokees alike. “…we will continue to develop these kinds of infrastructure improvements for our citizens,” he said. The splash pad is a part of $150 million worth of new infrastructure that’s been planned for or been built in the city during the past several years. Northeastern State University is building a new multipurpose event center, and the CN is planning a new $50 million hospital. The city’s sports complex and new swimming pool are future projects, the CN release states.

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