From the French Family Charitable Foundation, an institution dedicated to making a positive impact in our community.

Dear Edmond Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing the end of our efforts to build and donate a unique 62-acre park in east Edmond. For more than 2 1/2 years, we have attempted to work with City leaders and staff to bring this vision to life. Unfortunately, we have encountered numerous delays, hurdles and obstacles that have drained our energy, vanished our enthusiasm and ended our dream.

We had hoped to create a park similar to “The Gathering Place”, which stands as a model for successful public-private partnerships. While we made many concessions with the city in hopes of foraging a genuine partnership, we were often met with a skeptical, disingenuous, and arrogant attitude. As a person who grew up in Edmond and was attempting to give back this was most disheartening.

I want to express my sincere apologies to the Edmond community for being unable to make this gift happen. It is a shame that the land, which is currently zoned for commercial and high-density apartments, will not become a unique sculpture park, with many amenities, that would have set Edmond apart from other communities across our country.

I would like to thank the many citizens and friends who encouraged us along the way, as well as a few city leaders who responded with words of encouragement and support. I also appreciate how the Edmond Planning Commission passed our variance requests in about 30 minutes. I would like to give special thanks to former Mayor Randel Shadid who shared my passion and love for this project.

I hold only deep disappointment. It’s time to move on.


Hal French