Arkansas River Low-Water Dams May Not Make November Ballot

Wednesday, July 1st 2015, 11:34 pm
By: News On 6

After a month of public town hall meetings, a November vote on $300 million worth of low-water dams along the Arkansas River could be postponed.

A group of councilors and people who live in the area still have a lot of questions and concerns, and because the priority is doing it right, nobody wants to rush anything.

From council members to Tulsans young and old, there was a full house Wednesday for the last public meeting on low-water dams.

Councilman Blake Ewing said the month-long process has led to some really great discussions regarding the river.

"We are just now getting to a place where people know enough about it to give honest feedback. Water in the river is too vague a term," he said.

So, at the town halls, the River Task Force put it all on the table; the cost for the low water dams - $300 million - paid for by an extension of an already in place sales tax through vision 2025.

6/10/2015 Related Story: Task Force Presents Proposal For Low-Water Dams In Arkansas River

There would be three new dams built - one would be along the river in Bixby, another in Sand Springs near the Highway 97 Bridge and a third near south Tulsa and Jenks.

The fourth would be a complete overhaul of the existing Zink Dam.

"Do you really want it now that you've thought about it and now that you know where the development might or might not happen. Nobody has really ever been able to get to that place with people in Tulsa," Ewing said.

Now that river discussions have gotten to this point, nobody wants to rush it, so it might not even make it on the November ballot.

Ewing said, "There is a lot of momentum that says ‘do this the right way.’  We are not about jamming it down the throats of the community, we cannot fathom doing that."

He said they will probably go back to the drawing board with everything they've heard from the public and come up with a whole new draft.

No exact timetable is set right now.