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City, County, River Parks Waiting on Army Corps Approval on Zink Dam Agreement


While on-shore work has commenced for the new Zink Dam and Arkansas River pedestrian bridge, crews can’t get started in the river just yet.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to approve a memorandum of understanding for the dam.

"It’s a three-way agreement between the city, the county and River parks, and it’s the high-level, 40,000-foot view of who’s going to do what to take care of the dam once it’s built. And that was a requirement of the Corps," said River Parks Authority Executive Director Matt Meyer.

A proposed agreement was sent to the Army Corps of Engineers about a week and a half ago. The Board of Tulsa County Commissioners has deferred voting to approve it for three weeks now because it does not yet have federal approval.

Once the memorandum is approved, construction of the dam and bridge is expected to take two years. Then, the three parties to the agreement will have to hammer out a more detailed plan for day-to-day operation.

"If River Parks is the operator, funding will have to be provided by the city. I mean, there’s daily things that have to be done: Gates have to be raised, lowered; there’s a kayaking flume that has to be managed. So, it’s a lot more complicated than the dam we have now," Meyer said.

Anglers and other river users are asked to avoid the area during the project or at least wear life jackets and watch for changing water flows.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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