Members of the Arkansas River Task Force meet to discuss low-water dam, Zink dam improvement costs

TULSA - Representatives from the City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, Muskogee (Creek) Nation, and the cities of Bixby, Jenks and Sand Springs met Thursday to discuss costs associated with improvements to Zink Dam and the creation of low-water dams in Sand Springs and Jenks.

According to Tulsa County, the projected costs for Zink Dam repairs come in at $35.5 million.

For the creation of a new low-water dam in Sand Springs, the county estimates the cost to be $73 million.

And for a similar set up south of Sand Springs in Jenks, the cost of a new low-water dam is estimated to be $53.2 million.

Each of the represented stakeholders in the River Infrastructure Task Force Committee say they want to see the creation of new dams and the improvement of Zink Dam.

"Everything we've done and all the goals that we've set have been dependent upon the dam being there and water in the river," said Sand Springs mayor Mike Burdge.

The trouble, however, is obtaining the funds necessary to complete these projects.

"There is no funds assigned to the construction of any of these new projects or to the renovation of Zink Dam," said Kirby Crowe, program manager for Vision 2025.

That's why Burdge and District 2 County Commissioner Karen Keith say a public-private partnership is needed to raise those funds. Doing so could result in a vote, though no measure appears on the horizon as of now.

Crowe says Zink repairs, if the money is obtained, could begin in a year.

As for the Sand Springs and Jenks low-water dams, those could be years away. Crowe says those projects would likely be ready to begin around 2018.

That date created another issue among the stakeholders Thursday. As Keith explained, "A Gathering Place for Tulsa" is set to be completed around 2017. Subsequent dam construction could mean years of construction along Riverside.

That topic, however, has been put on hold at least for now.

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