By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa County signed an agreement Wednesday with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move forward on developing the Arkansas River. The deal confirms the federal government will pay for part of a new feasibility study to determine exactly what development can occur on the river.
"It will determine what is environmentally and economically justified," said Cynthia Kitchens, Corps Project Manager. "It will determine not only what the Corps of Engineers can participate in but also what's feasible for others to go forward and construct."
The ultimate result could change the appearance of the Arkansas as it runs through Tulsa County. Right now, the cost is an estimated $50 million.
"That will all be infrastructure in the river, getting water in the river basically, having water standing the river so we can see it all the time and that would require dams and infrastructure of the river and some things along the banks," said Republican Representative John Sullivan.
|Arkansas River Development Plans|
The new cost sharing agreement dedicates the first $4.5 million of that total.
Tulsa County wants the infrastructure completed so other projects can go forward, but says the study has to come first.
"So we want the best systems in place and the only way to do that is to do what we're doing right now," Karen Keith, Tulsa County Commissioner, said. "It's going to take 3 to 4 years, but once it's done, we're ready to move forward, get those dams in and then you're going to see things move much more quickly."
The ultimate master plan calls for all the elements promised with the river tax that voters turned down, just on a slower timeline because the money has to go through Washington.
Renderings of what the Arkansas River could look like were displayed as the historical contract was signed.
10/05/2010 Related Story: Tulsa To Move Forward With Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan