Monday, September 19th 2022, 5:18 pm
The City of Tulsa said it is about halfway finished with some big developments to the Arkansas River, including adding a lake and a whitewater channel.
Mayor G.T. Bynum on Monday shared a computer rendering of the work being done. He said this work will transform the way Tulsans enjoy the river, in ways that some have envisioned for decades. By this time next year, the city expects people to be doing things like kayaking, inner tubing and even surfing in a whitewater channel next to Gathering Place.
"I think people are just very excited about the idea that we could use the Arkansas River more than just one day a year for recreation when everybody gets excited about the raft race,” Bynum said.
Bynum said the city is still working with the parks department and River Parks Authority on exactly what sports will be available, and what it will cost to use the channel.
He said anyone, no matter their experience with water sports, should be able to have some fun.
"We'll be able to control the waves themselves so that you can true whitewater rapids for more experienced kayakers or you can modify it for those of us who might just wanna float on through there in an inner tube,” he said.
The city says construction is on schedule for the whole project, which includes big upgrades to Zink Lake. Bynum said the lake will be 8-10 feet deep at the dam, and extend three miles to the north, going past downtown. Aside from looking forward to all the fun, the mayor said the new dam will help mitigate floodwaters, keeping everyone safer too.
“We are actually decreasing the flood risk to Tulsa from what it has been for the last 40 years by putting in a dam with gates all the way across,” Bynum said.
Voters approved this $48 million Vision Tulsa project back in 2016.
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