• Little Niagra

    Chickasaw

    National Recreation Area Oklahoma

Public Opinion Sought in Visitor Center Planning

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Date: September 23, 2010
Contact: Lauren Gurniewicz, 580-622-7282
Contact: Precious Braggs, 580-622-7262

Chickasaw National Recreation Area will be hosting a public meeting on September 30, 2010 at 6:30pm at the Mary E. Parker Library to inform the public about the proposed visitor center in the Vendome Well area. The meeting will be an opportunity for the public to express their ideas and recommendations.

The National Park Service is considering construction of a new visitor center adjacent to the Vendome Well site on the south side of State Highway 7/Broadway Avenue in Sulphur. The proposed 6,500 square ft. visitor center would include space for a lobby, information counter, exhibits, multipurpose room, office space for interpretive staff, restrooms, and storage. The building would incorporate sustainable design concepts that use energy-efficient systems for passive solar heating, cooling, and natural lighting. Site work would include an outdoor plaza, additional water features, landscaping, and trail connections to access Vendome Well, Flower Park, and existing trails. The proposed visitor center would use the existing parking area at Vendome Well plus additional parking that would be constructed to accommodate recreational vehicles, buses, and boat trailers. Rehabilitation of the Vendome Well and plumbing system is also a component of the project.

The Travertine Nature Center currently serves as the primary visitor facility; however, that is not its intended use and it is often difficult for visitors to find.  Construction of a new visitor center would allow the Nature Center to be used for its intended environmental education function. The proposed visitor center would be in a high visibility area with easy access from Highway 7.  The visitor center would provide comprehensive information about park resources, history, and the park's significance.

An environmental assessment will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide the decision-making framework that 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives, 2) evaluates issues and impacts to park resources and values, and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

The Park encourages public participation throughout the planning process. There will be two opportunities to comment formally on the project—once during initial project scoping and again following release of the Environmental Assessment. The Park is currently in the scoping phase of the proposed project, and invites the public to submit written suggestions, comments, and concerns regarding the project online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/.

Comments may also be sent to the address below no later than October 7, 2010:

Superintendent

Chickasaw National Recreation Area

1008 W. Second Street

Sulphur, OK 73086-4814

Please note that before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information, you should be aware that your entire comment - including your personal identity may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

If you have questions about the project or would like more information, please contact Precious Braggs by phone at 580-622-7262 or email at precious_peoples@nps.gov.

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