Crews Begin Clean Up On O'Brien Park In Tulsa

Monday, June 17th 2019, 7:46 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa County estimates flood damage at O’Brien Park may top $300,000.

The park was flooded with muddy water from Bird Creek on May 21st. The most expensive repairs will be in the park’s rec center, which re-opened last August following a $1.7 million dollar makeover.

A cleaning crew started work there Friday with 10 days to tear out damaged material and dry out the building. The county responded first, the morning after the flood.

Now employees are scraping mud from the parking lots and hauling off furnishings that can’t be salvaged. In the batting cage building, they’ve torn out everything that was soaked and set aside everything they believe can be saved.

“It came up so fast and so much” said County Commissioner Stan Sallee.

He noted that while the park has several buildings and playgrounds, much of the park is in the 100 year floodplain and vulnerable to more extreme flooding like the area experienced in May.

“You might have to fix some bathrooms and fencing and some dirt work, but (using flood prone areas for parkland) is a good use” said Sallee.

The County will have to replace the surfaces around playgrounds and clean up more of the park, while contractors are working on the rec center to remove flooring from the entire building, including the gym, and dry the building.

“When I first came around here, all of this was covered with black mud. It was really slimy,” said Parks Directors Richard Bales.

While that's been cleaned up but the repairs will take all summer.

The cost might eventually be covered by FEMA but Bales said the County has insurance that's paying up front for a restoration crew to clean out the muddy water and limit further damage. While the County levee system was damaged, O’Brien Park has the most substantial flood damage outside of the river corridor.

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