Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Low-Water Dam Dominates Jenks' Vision 2 Sales Tax Discussion

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Low-Water Dam Dominates Jenks' Vision 2 Sales Tax Discussion

Article excerpt

No. 1 on Vic Vreeland's Vision 2 wish list is a low-water dam next to the RiverWalk Crossing outdoor center on the west bank of the Arkansas River.

Vreeland, Jenks mayor, said on Wednesday that the passage of the Vision 2 sales tax would benefit the community on the west side of the Arkansas River southwest of Tulsa.

"The dam would be a game changer," Vreeland said.

Vreeland joined officials from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Tulsa to split the cost to construct a low-water dam at Jenks. Tulsa's $30 million share of the cost would come from the $158 million quality-of-life portion of the proposed Tulsa County Vision 2 sales tax package.

Tulsa city officials hope Tulsa County voters want to see more water in the Arkansas River when they decide on the Vision 2 tax on Nov. 6.

Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum last month called on Tulsans to think outside the box regarding the sales tax and the river.

Bynum, the District 9 councilor and City Council chairman, orchestrated the meeting between the three groups.

Bynum favors putting money toward improving Zink Dam and installing a low-water dam in Jenks. Zink Dam is a low-water dam on the Arkansas River in midtown Tulsa.

"Putting water in the river is the single most transformative thing we can do for economic development," Bynum said.

For decades, Tulsa has been trying to get water in the Arkansas River. Over the past 10 years, city leaders wanted the federal government and the state to chip in dollars for the project.

This time things are different because there is an engineering plan in place to do the work and regional stakeholders - both municipal and tribal - stepping up to fund it, Bynum said.

"Tulsa isn't trying to go it alone," Bynum said. "And we're not looking for the beneficence of the state or federal government. We, as a regional community, are taking control of our own destiny."

Tulsa County officials are asking voters to spend $71 million in Vision 2 funds for the low-water dams in the Arkansas River channel. There is a proposed $41 million to rebuild the Zink Dam, a low- water dam in midtown Tulsa.

"A low-water dam will help us," Vreeland said. …

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