Some Private River Projects To Move Ahead Despite No Vote

Wednesday, October 10th 2007, 5:15 pm

By: News On 6

The dust has settled from the failed river project, so what remains? Tulsa voters rejected the plan 52% to 48% Tuesday night, but some of the river improvements are still possible. The News On 6’s Steve Berg reports at least two donations will still be made, although nothing near as big as the $122 million private gift that was once possible. Meanwhile, two large commercial developments are possible but still pending.

The Kaiser Foundation will make good on its promise of $12 million in trail widening and improvements, which have already started between 21st and 31st Streets. But virtually all of the $122 million in additional private pledges is kaput.

"A lot of people supported it. A few more didn't than did, so the public has decided, and we'll just need to move on," Ken Levit of the Kaiser Foundation said.

Detailed drawings for a $5 million gathering place at 41st and Riverside are still posted at QuikTrip's company headquarters, but QT spokesman Mike Thornbrugh says it doesn't make sense to do something this big without the other gathering places to go with it. However, he says they will still do something on the river to mark their 50th anniversary.

"It'll really be scaled back. We'd really like to have done what we had planned, but we'll scale it back and make sure that it'll be another quality project that people can go down and enjoy," QT spokesman Mike Thornbrugh said.

Thornbrugh says they intend to keep a positive attitude about the situation.

"I mean I'd like to use the term disappointed, but I think the real term is we're saddened by it, but we understand it and you just move forward," said Thornbrugh.

The News On 6 spoke with Rick Huffman by phone on Wednesday, he’s the Branson Developer who proposed the $500 million Tulsa Landing for the west bank of the river. Huffman said, "From our perspective right now, it's probably dead."

Huffman says the key is still land acquisition and says the project is still possible if he and city leaders can find some way to do that besides a sales tax.

The News On 6 tried, but couldn't reach Lynn Mitchell with the Jenks River District. He supported the river tax but has not indicated his plan was contingent on it, so presumably, he plans to go forward.

Watch the video: Voters Say No, But The Arkansas River Could Still See Improvements

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