Open in App
News 9 KWTV - Oklahoma City

Developer Pulls Plug On Sculpture Park Planned For City Of Edmond


Randel Shadid walks the property at the corner of 2nd Street and Coltrane in Edmond, where his friend Hal French had a dream of turning the 62 acres here into a park that's like the Gathering Place in Tulsa. However, after more than two years of work, French decided to walk away from his passion project.

“He had a great vision,” said Randel Shadid. “He wanted to do something nice for the city and special, something that was really unique .”

Something not common, thus the name The Uncommon Ground, a sculpture park full of public art and much more.

However, in a letter to the city of Edmond on Friday, French decided to scrap the project and move on due to “Numerous delays, hurdles, and obstacles.”

“As an artist, I thought that would be really cool to see, but now that they're pulling out on it, it's disappointing honestly, I really wanted to go see that,” said Aaron Snowden of Edmond.

While the city council approved the plan, Shadid felt they were not getting support from city management.

“We think we're ready to go and then no, you gotta go back and do this,” said Shadid. “Well, every time you go back and do this you gotta pay an architect or an engineer and it delays your project, time is money.”

In a statement to News 9, City Manager Scot Rigby said:

“I am sorry Mr. French and Mr. Shadid feel this way. I support public art and the Uncommon Ground proposed park. It is my responsibility and staff’s to assess and to present to City Council any initial and long-term financial costs attributed to any project so they can take that into consideration as they consider a project.

The City was working with them on a master agreement and the City Council recently approved their site plan and all 8 variances they requested, which included assuming responsibility for improving Coltrane and 2nd Street.

The City has funded the arts programs and again in this year’s proposed budget is funding for the arts program and the Parks Conservancy Trust.”

“It was starting to look really pretty over there too,” said Caroline Pinkston of Edmond. “Every time I would drive by, and I’d get excited to go and explore look around and just was looking forward to seeing what they were going to do with the place.”

Along with art sculptures, the park would have included an event center, man-made lakes, a dog park, a children’s playground with a splash pad, and restaurants.

“Just from a personal standpoint the location itself is special to me having grown up in Edmond and loving the property itself I was glad to see something come of it other than just turning it into apartment buildings and more strip malls,” said Edmond resident Jeannie Pinkston.

But now all you can see are mounds of dirt and silent equipment with only an idea of what might have been.

“It was going to be a really nice place,” said John Pinkston of Edmond. “I think it's kind of disappointing to see that not happen.”

“It's sad for me and Hal personally, we're very disappointed but it's really sad for the citizens because like I say this was going to be a great place for families and those kinds of activities and a great place to draw tourism dollars to the city,” said Shadid.

Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis said in a statement he hopes to continue talks about moving the project forward.

I am sorry to hear of Mr. French’s decision to not move forward with the Uncommon Ground project. I know both the city and Mr. French’s team were earnestly engaged in working through the details of this exciting project. After last Council meeting’s approval of Uncommon Ground’s site plan, I thought we were positively moving in the right direction. I would hope in the coming days we may have the opportunity to visit with Mr. French and his team to discuss how the project could move forward. -Edmond Mayor Darrell A. Davis
Expand All
Comments / 0
Add a Comment

Comments / 0