Campaign Planned To Push River Development - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

KOTV - 7/19/2007 5:00 PM - Updated 7/20/2007 4:42 PM

Campaign Planned To Push River Development

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There are more details on Tulsa's river development plan. The city and county are gearing up for a public relations campaign that will start next week, then kick into high gear in a couple of weeks. On Thursday a county commissioner said more projects could be added to the list, so the total cost might rise, but there is also a chance that federal tax money might offset some of the expense. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports the plan is on track to be on the ballot October 9th.

Officials have already begun to write the ballot text, come up with more definition on the list of projects, and how much they will cost. And it's not out of the question that some Broken Arrow projects could make the list, but the decisions will have to be made quickly to get it to the voters.

The unusually high water of the Arkansas River right now is because of constant rain, but keeping it high is the top priority of the whole river project. County Commissioner Randi Miller says every study of the river said it needed to be dammed up to make it look better.

"This is what needs to happen in the progression to make anything else happen," said Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller.

Damming up the Arkansas is the most expensive job in the river project. New low water dams would be built in Sand Springs and Jenks. The current dam at 31st street, which was recently repaired, would be replaced with a slightly higher dam that would let sediment flow through. Commissioner Fred Perry says it's a necessary, but expensive idea.

"We're seeing estimates of $25 million per low water dam," said Fred Perry, Tulsa County Commissioner.

Perry is one of two new commissioners, and while he says he's happy with the plan itself, he says he's not made up his mind on whether it's worth it to spend $282 million of tax money to make it happen.

Commission Chairman Miller says she's sold on the plan and the way to pay for it.

"With $100 million on the table in private money, the citizens need to be able to tell us if they want this river developed," Miller said.

The plan does include the buyout of some land on the west bank of the Arkansas, specifically where a concrete plant and city offices are now. That has been made possible by the decision of the city council to relocate city hall and the offices on the west bank.

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