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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Tony Moore Brings Experience to Tulsa's Gathering Place

Managing Editor

CONSTRUCTION OVERVIEW: A Gathering Place for Tulsa Director Tony Moore stands near the north end of the Gathering Place. Behind him are Peggy’s Pond and the Boathouse. Moore came to Tulsa from Orlando and officially began his role in August of last year.

EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers

Editor’s Note: Tony Moore, park director of A Gathering Place for Tulsa, is one of Greater Tulsa Reporter’s “10 People to Watch in 2017.”

Tony Moore was not initially looking for a job change, but it was A Gathering Place for Tulsa’s message of inclusion and diversity that eventually proved too hard for him to ignore.

Moore officially began his role as Park Director for the Gathering Place in August 2016.
His background working in the entertainment park industry spans more than 30 years and began with his first job as a part-time operations employee at Sea World. He went on to work in various roles, including marketing, environmental, health and safety, and culinary operations, at a number of Orlando-area entertainment parks. Most recently, Moore served as Chief Operating Officer at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, one of the most visited zoos in the southeast U.S.

“Orlando is the mecca of theme parks, with such major attractions and rides,” says Moore, a Jamaica native. “It was a great place for me to be, especially when I was just starting in the business.”

Even after being contacted regarding the position with the Gathering Place, Moore intended to remain on his present path, working towards an eventual role as park president.

“I was learning the business from the ground up, working my way to leadership,” he says.

However, the Gathering Place’s overall appeal and message were challenging to ignore, he continues, with the tipping point for him revolving around “the diversity of the content and the George Kaiser Family Foundation’s mission behind the Gathering Place as a public space where all Tulsans can unite.

“The Gathering Place is really the ultimate climax of resources that are being used for the ultimate good.”

Moore will be responsible for full operational and programmatic oversight of the park. He is also responsible for programs and operation of Guthrie Green.

Recently, the rest of the Gathering Place’s leadership team was announced: Kirsten Hein as senior programming officer, Josh Henderson as senior operations officer, Amanda Murphy as senior marketing officer and Steve Terry as senior culinary officer.
“We have assembled an awesome team, none of what we do is individual,” says Moore. “This team is well positioned to fully deliver on quality.”

The first phase of the park, which will stretch from 26th Street to 33rd Street along Riverside Drive, is expected to open by summer 2018.

In order to provide a sneak peek and garner added anticipation, Tulsa-area elementary students will be invited to visit the five-acre Adventure Playground, which will be completed by January. The playground area will include five acres of handcrafted, one-of-a-kind equipment from Germany that has never before been seen in the U.S.

When asked about his favorite feature of the park, Moore won’t commit, or maybe more accurate is that he is unable to commit to just one feature because “the park has a little bit of everything for everyone from toddlers to seniors,” he says.

At the south end of the park, positioned next to the Arkansas River, will sit five multi-use sports courts that will also be lighted to allow for evening activities. Water activities, including boating and kayaking, will take place on Peggy’s Pond, located at the park’s north end, with eventual plans to expand those water activities onto the Arkansas River, Moore says.

One feature that Moore is eager to see are the two land bridges on Riverside Drive, which will create tunnels that will be covered by grass to extend the park over the street and connect it to the Arkansas River. The tunnels will feature LED lights and have a European design, which will be eye-catching, says Moore.

Care is also being taken to engineer the bridge to minimize traffic noise from Riverside and to use vegetation and the landscape to muffle sounds. The speed limit will be decreased to 35 miles per hour for portions of Riverside.

The park will also include 60,000 plants and shrubs and 7,000 trees. “We want to make this a green spot,” says Moore. “This park will be beautiful, not flat but with hills and high inclines.”

As the park moves into its final year of construction, Moore’s and the whole city’s degree of anticipation will only continue building.
“Tulsans will be blown away,” he smiles.

Updated 06-22-2017

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