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Nearly five years later, construction progresses on Eco Park

Photo caption: A view from Main Street in Pawhuska shows the construction of a new bridge that will be part of EcoPark. The park will be open for the community in 2021. CODY HAMMER/Osage News

The former Communities of Excellence department received a $1.2 million grant in 2015 to begin construction on Eco Park, a community park the likes Pawhuska had never seen.

Architects were hired, blueprints and renderings were made, but after employee turnover, a change in leadership and priorities shuffled, the project stalled.

Nearly five years later, the task has been given to Jann Hayman, director of the Department of Natural Resources. She said the contract date for completion of the trails and bridges is Dec. 28. The project has cost $1.7 million and will have approximately 5,000 linear feet of nature trails and approximately 1.5 miles of ADA accessible trails.

“The plans have shifted from what was originally proposed, but we are working to keep a lot of the same features in a more functional way,” she said.

The park is located on 70 acres on the Nation’s Bird Creek Farms and will be open to the community but will display specific signage related to Osage culture and language throughout the park, Hayman said.

Bird Creek Farms is located off of Lynn and Midland avenues, along the bank of Bird Creek. Visitors to the park will enjoy water features such as small rapids, rocks and trees, and possibly areas for fishing. 

“I anticipate there being a ribbon-cutting, for both the park and the farm,” she said, once the new buildings are also completed for Bird Creek Farms. “Both of these developments create a tremendous opportunity for our Osage people to be part of not only our food security endeavors but also to showcase the importance of the land to our people.” 



Shannon Shaw Duty

Original Publish Date: 2020-10-01 00:00:00

Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty is the editor of the Osage News. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a master's degree in Legal Studies, Indigenous Peoples Law from the OU College of Law. She served on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) from 2013-2016 and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee from 2017-2020. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive the Elias Boudinot Free Press Award, NAJA’s highest honor. An Osage tribal member, she and her family are from the Grayhorse District. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and six children.

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