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The Future Of River Development

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Some plans for the Arkansas River have changed and others still have some life after voters turned down a development plan last week. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports last week city and county leaders were saying Arkansas River development was crucial for Tulsa's, but now there's no visible movement to do much about moving any of their plans forward.

River development isn't dead, but so far, no one has taken the lead on what to do next. The political leaders say they've moved on to other priorities. The private donors say they'll give their money to other causes. The private developers are describing the vote as a setback. In the middle of all that, is the River Parks Authority, who has been protecting and developing parkland on the river bank.

Matt Meyer, the director of River Parks says the next big thing for the river is cleaning it up. And, Tulsa's Sinclair Refinery will be paying for it.

"We're targeting the area between 11th and 71st street. North of the bridge there are lots of steel structures in the river. And, near the west bank near 41st to 43rd there is whole field of tires, there are thousands of tires in the river," said River Parks director Matt Meyer.

About 2,700 people visit the River Parks every day. The biggest change that is coming to the river bank is the continuing trails improvements, a $12.4 million plan being paid for by the Kaiser Foundation. QuikTrip still plans to build something at 41st and Riverside, but the company says it will be significantly smaller than originally planned.

One thing that was on hold for the river tax election was the repair work on Zink Dam. It needs work, but there is no money to pay for it.

"There is still a need to improve Zink Dam, to raise it, and add some gates, some things that aren't funded and we have some parts to repair the existing dam, which still needs to be done," said River Parks director Matt Meyer.

There is still some hope from the county that federal money will come in to pay for some work on the low water dams. Those funds would go with the money from Vision 2025, but it's not enough to build two dams.

Originally aired 10/15/2007 3:51 PM - Updated 10/16/2007 7:06 AM

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