Tulsa City Council Votes to Extend Deadline for South Tulsa/Jenks Funding Commitment

Dec 14, 2020

Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa City Council wants to give the Muscogee (Creek) Nation two more years to decide whether it can commit $16 million dollars to building an Arkansas River Dam near 101st Street.

The deadline for that was Dec. 31 of this year. The council voted last week to extend the deadline to Dec. 31, 2022. Councilor Phil Lakin said the additional time will ensure everyone’s budgets have recovered from 2019’s spring floods and the coronavirus pandemic and will give Tulsa officials time to meet with Muscogee (Creek) officials about the matter.

"I don’t know when we’ll be out of duress, just generally, as a community, and then I don’t know when they’ll be out of duress. I have no access to their financial statements. They’re the only ones who know," Lakin said.

The Vision Tulsa sales tax package included more than $64 million for a south Tulsa/Jenks dam similar to midtown’s Zink Dam, but spending that money is contingent upon the City of Jenks and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation kicking in another $32.9 million to cover the rest of the costs. If the additional funding isn’t committed by the deadline, Tulsa will reallocate its share, with the first $18 million creating a maintenance fund for Zink Dam.

District Nine Councilor Jayme Fowler said if that happens, the council should ensure the remaining funds go toward projects in the 101st and Riverside area.

"It’s very important that we understand that, you know what, the voters of south Tulsa, west Tulsa, Jenks, I would assume the reason they voted for that Vision package, obviously, is because they thought there would be some benefits remitted back to them," Fowler said.

Principal Chief David Hill told the Tulsa World last week the Muscogee (Creek) Nation won’t know until at least next month whether it can afford its share.

Jenks voters approved $16.6 million for the dam in 2016.