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Local & Regional

River Parks Hit With Midyear Budget Cut

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River Parks has to trim its budget with city revenues failing to meet projections.

River Parks Director Matt Meyer says city finance staff told them a few months ago to prepare scenarios for 5 and 10 percent budget cuts.

"We recently got a memo that our cut would be, like, $56,000, which is about 9 percent of the city side of our operating [budget]," Meyer said. "You've got to realize that the county is half of our operating and the city is half of our operating."

That cut is effective this fiscal year. It only affects operations funding, so any capital commitments the city has made won't be reduced.

River Parks staff are trying to figure out how to work with the cut.

"Like, just not do some tree trimming, and we've saved some money with fuel costs and all that," Meyer said. "But we probably will be looking at maybe closing a restroom, because we do all our restroom maintenance by contract, too, in terms of the cleaning and that sort of thing. So, I mean, there has to be some impact to the public because it can't — it doesn't add up."

Meyer did have some good news: The I-244 pedestrian bridge will open within a few weeks.

The pedestrian bridge runs under the I-244 bridge spanning the Arkansas River. The highway bridge opened almost a year and a half ago. Both are Oklahoma Department of Transportation projects, but River Parks will maintain the pedestrian bridge.

Meyer is happy it's opening, but the budget cut complicates things.

"It really looks cool, but it will involve some maintenance," Meyer said. "And who's going to take care of that is the question."