Record Donation Aids Expansion Of River Parks Trail

Friday, February 9th 2007, 10:50 am
By: News On 6

More money has been added to a record donation for the River Parks that will pay to widen part of the trail. The plan is to add a trail in most places so that joggers and bicyclists will be on a separate path. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan reports it's safer that way, but beautification was the driving force for the foundation picking up most of the cost.

The River Parks trail is a single lane of asphalt in most places

"On warm days there is a lot of congestion on the trail and we have had some accidents, and this will go a long way towards alleviating that," River Parks Director Matt Meyer said.

The Kaiser Family Foundation announcement of a $12,400,000 gift will pay for big changes to the River Parks, including a new dedicated bike trail with better landscaping and lighting.

"And this was an opportunity, especially coupled with the sales tax money approved by the voters, to really leap forward," said Ken Levit with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The voters approved $2.9 million to make some improvements, but the Kaiser money will go much further.

"This is just a bike trail that we could have never afforded to do with the third penny sales tax, but thanks to the confidence of the voters, now we've been able to leverage those dollars," Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor said.

The improvements will cover the east bank from 11th Street down to 71st Street and the west bank of the Arkansas River in the I-44 and Turkey Mountain area. The project will take just over two years to finish.

Last year the Kaiser Foundation announced a $10 million gift, Friday’s announcement was an increase to that, so the total gift is $12.4 million.