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  • Cathy O’Connor

Celebrating OKC’s urban garden

This week the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge celebrates its 30th anniversary. The organization is hosting a public open house on Sunday, the exact date it opened its doors in 1988.

It is hard to imagine the Myriad Gardens as anything except the vibrant center of downtown Oklahoma City. Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors explore the gardens, attend outdoor events, take education classes and simply enjoy nature. But just like nature itself, the Myriad Gardens has endured challenging seasons. Its history and the rich, colorful place we all enjoy today are testaments of Oklahoma City’s resilience and creative problem-solving ability.

In 1977 the city broke ground on the downtown gardens as part of a downtown revitalization plan. While some city leaders could see the vision and the potential of the gardens, there were several vocal opponents who thought that the venture was too costly and taking too long to build. The oil bust, and the failure of Penn Square Bank in 1982, threatened the continued construction. According to the Myriad Gardens’ anniversary video, “there was only enough money to build the support beams for the Crystal Bridge itself.”

A civic leader and longtime champion for the Myriad Gardens, Dean A. McGee, wasn’t going to let this vision languish. He led the effort to privately raise the $1.3 million to finish the Crystal Bridge, which opened 30 years ago this weekend.

Read the full article at The Journal Record

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