Will River Development Hurt Jenksâ€™ River Businesses?
Sunday, September 30th 2007, 8:31 pm
By: News On 6
Tulsa County is a week-and-a-half out from voting on a sales tax hike to fund improvements to the Arkansas River. Supporters say improvements will beef up business from Sand Springs to Bixby. Many river supporters look to Jenks as a model of riverside potential. But could duplicate development up and down the river take away from Jenks' success? The News On 6â€™s Joshua Brakhage reports until now, they've had a monopoly on riverside entertainment, but if the river vote passes, others will get in the game.
Jenks was so far out in front of river development they've almost run out of riverside property. After the aquarium, Riverwalk Crossing, a planned Riverwalk expansion and the billion-dollar River District development, the Jenks Chamber of Commerce is taking its next steps very carefully.
"We've got to be very particular with what we do with what we have left,â€ Ruth Littlefield, Jenks Chamber of Commerce President said.
If the river tax passes, new low water dams would ensure there will always be water in the Arkansas River. That will be great news for businesses at the Riverwalk Crossing, but that also means Jenks could lose its competitive edge.
"If this river tax passes, I think you're going to see private development really starting to spawn,â€ said Littlefield. â€œIn the next three to five years, we're going to see a lot of things happening.â€
Supporters expect a lot of that development will be in Sand Springs, Tulsa and Bixby. If other developments spring up on the banks of the Arkansas, Jenks could be left high and dry.
"We have heard in town hall meetings for years from citizens saying, 'why aren't we doing anything with the river?' Now's our chance," local developer Sharon King Davis said.
Sharon King Davis broke ground last year on Kings Landing, across from the aquarium on the Tulsa side of the river.
"Whatever happens in one part will benefit everybody, will benefit this region!" said Sharon King Davis.
The Jenks' Chamber agrees, and says they're ready for a little competition.
"There's room for everybody I feel in this game," Littlefield said.
The Jenks mayor, city council and chamber of commerce have all endorsed the river tax. Jenks leaders say it took the spark of the Oklahoma Aquarium to attract investors to their community. The Our River Yes campaign says it feels the river tax can provide that same spark to communities countywide.
The vote on river development is set for October 9. For complete coverage of the River Vote, click here.
Watch the video: The River Development Effect
2/9/2007 Record Donation Aids Expansion Of River Parks Trail
6/20/2007 River Development Plans
6/21/2007 New Plans For Arkansas River Development
7/17/2007 River Development Reaches Another Landmark
7/18/2007 River Developments Hinges On Vote Of The People
7/18/2007 Arkansas River Development Plan Announced
7/19/2007 Campaign Planned To Push River Development
7/20/2007 River Development Plan Similar To One Already Passed
7/26/2007 City Councilor Has A New Plan To Pay For River Development
7/29/2007 Explaining Development Along The Arkansas River
7/30/2007 River Tax Debate Continues
7/31/2007 River Plan Not Popular With Tulsa County Residents
7/31/2007 River Plan Reactions
8/9/2007 River Development Plans Move Ahead
8/21/2007 River Tax Groups Turn To The Internet For Support
8/22/2007 Republican Group Against Arkansas River Tax
9/4/2007 Our River Yes Kicks Off River Development Campaign
9/5/2007 People For And Against River Tax Begin Campaigns
9/6/2007 Groups Battling For Votes On Arkansas River Tax
9/8/2007 North Tulsa Residents Rally Against River Tax
9/9/2007 River Tax Supporters Face Upstream Battle
9/13/2007 Rock The River Looks For Your Vote With Entertainment
9/16/2007 More People Getting Behind River Tax Plan
9/19/2007 Students Debate River Tax Plan
9/19/2007 City Takes A Stand Against River Tax
9/20/2007 River Development Swing Vote
9/20/2007 QT Unveils Its Plans For The River
9/21/2007 - From Dry River Bed To Lakeside Community
9/23/2007 - 'Run For Our River' Set for October 7th
9/24/2007 Rally Held Against River Tax Proposal
9/25/2007 - River Tax Supporters Reach Out To North Tulsa Community
9/26/2007 - River Opponents Given New Incentive To Pass River Tax
9/27/2007 Whoâ€™s Donating To River Development?
9/30/2007 After Decades Of Wait And See, River's Future At Crossroads