The town of Foyil, Oklahoma, soon will embark on improvements to Andy Payne Park — best-known for its statue of Payne running — off old Route 66 in the village.
According to the Claremore Daily Progress newspaper in nearby Claremore:
The improvements, budgeted at $11,000, will include three new picnic tables covered by a large awning, a cement walkway and bench around the statue of Andy Payne, and a swing set and slide for children to play. […]
The park renovations will be complete in time for the start of Foyil’s Food Truck Friday season in late spring.
“We wanted stuff out there for the kids and all the tourists who come through town,” Anderson said. “We’re working on cleaning up the town, and hopefully this is a good start.”
The Cherokee Nation, of which Payne was a member, is funding 75% of the improvements. The village initially erected the statue of Payne about 2009.
Twenty-year-old Foyil native Payne unexpectedly won a Los Angeles-to-New York footrace — much of it on early Route 66 — in 1928. The inaugural race officially was called the Trans-American Footrace, better known as the Bunion Derby. Because of widespread daily updates about the race, it was a key event in cementing Route 66 in the nation’s consciousness.
Payne earned $25,000 for winning the 3,400-mile race in 573 hours, 4 minutes, 34 seconds — a pace of 6 miles per hour.
He eventually became a longtime clerk of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. He died at age 70 in 1977.
(Image of Andy Payne statue along old Route 66 in Foyil, Oklahoma, by Michael Earl Johnson via Facebook)