Sand Springs Moves Forward With Proposing Its Own Plan For Development

Thursday, July 16th 2015, 7:13 pm
By: Tess Maune

The Arkansas River Task Force is about to cut dams in Bixby and Sand Springs from its plan for river development after complaints they are unnecessary.

Tulsa city councilor GT Bynum said two concerns he heard during public meetings were that the proposal didn't do enough to put water in Tulsa's part of the river and that Tulsa would be subsidizing the development of dams in other communities.

Now, Bynum’s recommending the plan be done in two phases: Phase 1, which could be sent to voters in the spring, would include the Zinc Dam at 49th and Riverside and 103rd and Riverside. The second would be for Phase 2 would include dams in Sand Springs and Bixby and could include changes to a water waste treatment plant at 51st and Riverside.

Since Bynum is recommending Sand Springs not be part of the first vote, city leaders there have come up with their own plan to boost their economy. It's a tax initiative that would put economic growth and public safety at center stage.

The police department is what some call the face of Sand Springs. From the outside, it looks newer, but it has the bones of a building that's nearly 100 years old, so a new police department is a top priority.

The police department is one of the most used city services in Sand Springs, chief Mike Carter says.

“Annually, the police department's running 27,000 calls for service in this town," he said.

He says his officers always get the job done, even though, they're crammed into a space that Carter says is outdated.

“The police facility is completely inadequate, we don't have a modern jail, we don't have 911 facilities for all the modern-day equipment,” he said.

The building that houses the police department, city jail and city hall was built in 1920.

The last big update was made about 35 years ago. That's when this brick facade went up, making the building look newer -- but not bigger.

“This used to be an office, but now we've made it a property room,” SPD Capt. Todd Enzbrenner said.

The only solution, Enzbrenner says, is a new public safety center to give officers more space, advanced technology and training facilities.    

“The design we've come up for the new building, if it's approved, is kind of a modular, where everybody's in one group, which will be better,” Enzbrenner said.

It also would include a storm shelter.

Carter says there are no plans to move the downtown fire station, but it would be remodled.

To pay for the millions of dollars worth of  upgrades, the city hopes voters will renew a 6/10 of a cent sales tax, which is set to expire in two years.

“If you spend $100 at the grocery store, it would be six pennies,” he said.

The plan would also include tax incentives to help bring new restaurants and retail to the River West complex, which is home to a new Starbucks and Holiday Inn Express.

The city already has dedicated money toward developing the property in a way that it's shovel-ready for new businesses that want to build.

The city council will meet on July 27 to possibly vote on calling for an election.

The public will be able to make comments about the plan at that time.

A similar proposal was rejected by 69 votes two years ago, but that plan would have increased property tax.