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Muscogee Nation approves partnership for Arkansas River dam project

File photo
The Arkansas River is seen along the western limits of Tulsa. The Muscogee Nation has approved a partnership that greenlights a project to build a dam and pedestrian bridge between Tulsa and Jenks.

A dam and pedestrian bridge between south Tulsa and Jenks stays alive via a decision from the Muscogee Nation.

The Muskogee National Council voted 8-6 Wednesday to pass a memorandum of understanding between the tribal nation, Tulsa, Jenks and the Indian Nations Council of Governments regarding the project.

The agreement is worth about $8.2 million for the low water dam project, which will technically create a lake in the Arkansas River between 71st and 101st streets, according to a news release from the city of Tulsa.

The Tulsa World reported that Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said an unfavorable vote from the council would have effectively ended the project. But in the news release, Bynum said he looks forward to working with the Muscogee Nation.

"The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is always willing to sit down and work with our partners in the cities of Tulsa and Jenks to advance development, growth and prosperity on our Reservation," Principal Chief David Hill said in the news release. “This agreement is a win-win for all parties and an example of the things we can achieve when we work together. I want to thank our National Council for its diligence in working toward a plan that takes care of the Nation, while joining in the shared vision for the future with our partners."

The project follows Tulsa residents passing a construction bond of $64.2 million, and Jenks residents passing a construction bond of $16.6 million, in 2016. The United States Department of Transportation also announced this year that Tulsa would receive a $16.2 million grant for a multimodal trail system in conjunction with the dam project.

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Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS. A Tulsa native, Bryan worked at newspapers throughout Arkansas and in Norman before coming home to "the most underrated city in America." Several of Bryan's news stories have either led to or been cited in changes both in the public and private sectors.