Jenks’ low water dam project faces uncertain future

Jenks’ low water dam project faces uncertain future

By Kyle Salomon

April of 2016, Jenks voters said yes to the Vision 2025 Sales Tax Extension, which included a low water dam be built in the Arkansas River connecting Jenks and Tulsa.

If certain funding does not come through in less than a year, funds allocated for that project by the City of Jenks and City of Tulsa can be used for other capital funded projects.

The City of Jenks and City of Tulsa have done their part with their portion of the funds needed to build the dam, but a maintenance endowment needs to be funded for the project to be completed and maintained.

According to Jenks City Manager Chris Shrout and Assistant City Manager Robert Carr, no agreement has been reached to fund that endowment.

Both Jenks and Tulsa officials say they want the project to get done.

“Jenks is already a destination city with the Oklahoma Aquarium, the Riverwalk, Flying Tee and the Tulsa Premium Outlet Mall coming. This would add to that and provide some outdoor recreation for people,” Shrout said. “The maintenance endowment funding needs to be agreed upon by December of 2020 or the agreed upon funds from Jenks and Tulsa can be used on other capital projects.”

Jenks’ share of the dam construction is $16.67 million.

When describing the low water dam project, the April 2016 ballot voted yes by the voters in Jenks read:

“$16,670,000 in funding proposed for Jenks/Tulsa Arkansas River low water dam project for the purposes of constructing, reconstructing, improving, remodeling, repairing, operating and maintaining the proposed low water dam and related facilities with additional funds to be used for capital projects, including constructing roads, road maintenance and park improvements and construction.”

The bond that was passed was for 55% of every penny of sales tax to go to the Vision 2025.

Carr added that if the funds for the endowment do come in, it will take time to get the dam constructed and placed.

“It still needs to be engineered,” Carr said. “Even if the funding comes in, it’s not like construction will start January of 2021. There are environment factors that have to be addressed as well.”

A low water dam in Jenks would allow for a landing park for people to come and go out on the water either kayaks or canoes or other recreational activities.

A low water dam in Jenks would allow for water recreation in the Arkansas River. If the maintenance endowment is not funded by December 2020, the money Tulsa and Jenks are allocating to build the dam can be used on other capital funded projects. Photo/Kyle Salomon

The Jenks Tribune will update the story as the 2020 year progresses.

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