5Ws+1H: Where It's At: Tahlequah boasts many parks with various features

Apr. 23—Several parks have dotted the Tahlequah landscape for several years, with each offering different amenities.

Brian Speake, Parks and Recreation superintendent, said some parks are connected by a walking trail.

"There's a lot of folks who will start at the dog park and use that walking trail," Speake said.

Speake said the Tahlequah Tails Dog Park at the end of Basin Street features an enclosed area where people can take pets for the obstacle course and the in-ground watering system. This fall is set to bring more landscaping and Speake said he is also getting quotes to build a pavilion.

The dog park trail leads into Felts Park, which features a playground and pavilion. Behind Felts Parks, on East First Street and Dogwood Drive, is Kaufman Park with a toddler playground, benches, and a new pickleball court.

A walk farther along the trail will take folks to a community orchard at Guinn and South Water Avenue, where fruit trees were recently planted. Future plans include more berry plants and fruit trees.

"I'm looking at trying to get some signage made up," Speake said. "Something along the lines of the 'City of Tahlequah Community Orchard.'"

The fruit trees and trail lead into Ross Park, where Speake said new playground equipment was placed last year. Sequoyah City Park is next, with new flower beds and landscaping. Speake said Sequoyah City Park is one of the busier areas, along with Norris Park, with a big draw being Town Branch Creek. Besides benches, a pavilion, and playground equipment, the park is right beside the Tahlequah Skate Park.

Across East Downing Street is the splash pad, which is set to open around Memorial Day weekend. Norris Park, where many events are hosted, such as Walk a Mile In Her Shows and Red Fern Festival, is a short walk from the splash pad between Water Avenue and North Muskogee Avenue. Norris Park, across the street from the Pavillion, also features restrooms, playground equipment, and pavilions. Future plans are to refresh the gazebo and add a sitting area.

The Anthis Brennan Family Sports Complex is across town at 1046 W. Allen Road. Speake said the complex houses features for families to enjoy. Along with the softball and baseball fields, the complex includes a basketball court, pickleball court, a small football field, and an ADA compliant playground. Speake said most playground equipment can be accessible to kids depending on the disability, but the complex is the only one with a playground that is certified as ADA-compliant.

The edge of the complex features the city swimming pool, Tahlequatics, which will open Memorial Day weekend. The pool features slides, a diving board, swimming lessons, and a concession stand. The south side of town, Speake said, offers Southridge City Park, with playground equipment, a half basketball court, and picnic tables. Speake said the gravel parking lot will soon be paved, along with the addition of a pickleball court.

The last park is Tahlequah Mission Park at First Street and Mission Avenue.

"Mission Park is going to be the first park of it's kind in this area that's going to be all natural, native," Speake said. "I use the term 'educational park.'"

Speake said the park has native plants and trees that are being established, but educational plaques will eventually be installed. The park has about 1 mile of a concrete walking path, with the back hosting several unpaved trails and more so for hiking. Speake said the park is a work in progress with one of the goals to be a place where schools can bring students for educational purposes. A disc golf course may be added at some point.