Arkansas River Projects Take Small Funding Hit

Feb 13, 2014

Credit KWGS Photo

Arkansas River corridor projects saw a small setback with the recent denial of a federal funding request. 

Officials in communities along the river learned today in a meeting of Tulsa's river development task force that the Army Corps of Engineers won't get $330,000 to help plan a low-water dam in Sand Springs. Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith said local support for development, however,  is still strong. 

"I mean, we've got private investment, over $950 million, going on along the river. So our public side of it is to get those low-water dams in place," Keith said. "The will is to make that happen."

The next step could be applying for a permit for a dam in Jenks, which would trigger a federal environmental review. 

Tulsa's river development task force also got new estimates for low-water dam projects. They're 9 percent higher than 2010 estimates. 

Zink Dam is pegged at $44.7 million, but nearly $10 million is already available between icy funds and planned work for the Gathering Place. 

Vision 2025 Program Director Kirby Crowe said it's possible to lower the cost by not building everything that's been approved, like a whitewater flume and a surf wave, but those choices come at their own costs. 

"Those items, people travel to attend, and they're going to stay somewhere and eat somewhere and, you know, those kind of associated economic development," Crowe said. 

The estimates call for a total of $73 million on Sand Spring's dam and $53.2 million for Jenks'.