On Dec. 2, 2021, leadership from the City of Stillwater and KICKER® hosted an event at the area of block 34 to release the first phase of development for the park and amphitheater.
The concept for the block has been vetted for several years to create a recreational space for the community that would be beneficial for all residents and organizations throughout the seasons. Identifying funding sources for development has been a concern until the recent contribution of $3.5 million from Stillwater Designs/KICKER.
“This incredibly generous gift to our community is a testament of Mr. Steve Irby’s commitment to help his hometown and genuine desire to enhance the quality of life for others,” said City Manager Norman McNickle.
Of the contribution, $2.7 million will be allocated for construction. KICKER® will also fund design and engineering, which is currently underway. The remaining $800,000 will go toward programming and maintenance expenses throughout the next 10 years. The Stillwater Community Center Foundation will receive the balance of the donation. The funds will be used to develop and deliver fourteen evening music events plus other programming each year for ten years on the block.
The City of Stillwater will be responsible for infrastructure and oversight needs. If additional funding is needed for completion of the area, it will be raised by the Block 34 Architecture and Development Committee. The committee will be formed in coming weeks.
Architectural renderings for the park and amphitheater provide a visual of the multi-use, public space that includes the outdoor performance stage, multi-purpose pavilion, restrooms, storage, water fountain, art features, bermed lawn and seating, stone benches, area for food trucks, other vendors and amenities. The architectural renderings and construction documents were also donated by KICKER®.
“I’m excited to be part of making Stillwater an even better place to live. Investments like this in the community will both attract and keep talent of all ages and their businesses in Stillwater for years to come,” said Steve Irby, Founder and President of KICKER®.
The plans and design are consistent with the Block 34 Trust Authority’s vision, which has developed throughout the past four years including a town hall and 50 public meetings.
The location and position of the amphitheater was strategically planned based on optimal audience viewing with lighting, time of day and seasonal changes. The covered stage will be optimal for hosting outdoor plays, concerts, movies, cultural and educational events.
Directly adjacent to the park are approximately 150 public parking spaces, with hundreds more near the area.
The Block 34 Trust has maintained the goal to provide a gathering spot, “an outdoor living room,” for the community. To ensure the goal is met, the lead architect for the amphitheater is Stanton Espinoza and for landscape architect is Dan Alaback, both Oklahoma State University graduates.
Groundbreaking and construction are expected to begin near summer 2022. For more information about the history and development of the block 34 area, go online to: stillwater.org/block34.