Design of Rotary Plaza Unveiled

By GasserOnline Correspondent, Tim Colwell

Design drawings of our club’s centennial gift to the City of Tulsa — a downtown Rotary Plaza — were unveiled at a recent Rotary meeting. We hope to break ground on the Williams Center Green project after Mayfest, with completion expected in early fall.

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Landscape architect and Southeast Rotarian Dan Alaback presented the design that not only recognizes 100 years of Rotary in Tulsa, but the celebration of Rotary’s accomplishments internationally.  In addition, Tulsa’s standing as “America’s Most Generous City” for volunteerism and charitable contributions will be highlighted in the plaza.  Dan’s firm, Alaback Design Associates, was contracted to do the hardscape and landscape design.

Five bronze sculptures are the centerpiece of the plaza, which will be located along Third Street, on the southwest corner of the green. At the center, a 12-foot bronze globe will be symbolic of the international scope of Rotary. Other sculptures will reflect the humanitarian role of Rotary in Tulsa and around the world.

They include:

  • Freedom from Polio … a sculpture in bronze of a girl casting aside her crutches
  • Drinkable Water for All … a Nicaraguan woman carrying fresh water from a well
  • World Peace Through Understanding … a student carrying a backpack and books. This represents Rotary’s International Youth Exchange and Ambassadorial Scholar programs
  • Mentoring Youth … A Rotarian mentoring an elementary school student, which is symbolic of Tulsa Rotary’s highly successful
  • Celia Clinton partner-school relationship and youth mentoring by Rotarians around the world

Accompanying inscribed tablets will explain the significance of each bronze sculpture and how Rotary is making a difference here and internationally. Nationally recognized sculptors Jay O’Meilia and David Nunneley were commissioned to create the bronzes.

The 80-foot circumference plaza will feature a variety of hardscape materials. Pavers with sandblasted letters will be placed in a circular pattern around the project. The combined pavers will read: ROTARY CENTENNIAL PLAZA … SERVICE ABOVE SELF … CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF THE ROTARY CLUB OF TULSA. Additionally, the plaza will include benches, dramatic lighting and large diameter trees.

Incoming Rotary President Kalyan Banerjee of India has been invited to help dedicate the completed project. In his invitation, President Bob McKenzie explained the significance of the $800,000 gift to Tulsa: “This setting – and the magnitude of the project – will create an instant local landmark. But importantly, the celebration of our great organization through public art will make Tulsa’s Rotary Plaza a Rotary International landmark, a destination for traveling Rotarians who will feel pride when experiencing this recognition of the world’s largest service organization.”

The next steps are the City of Tulsa’s approval of the design, creation of final design drawings, and then the groundbreaking, the construction and finally, the installation of the sculptures.