Task force holds final public meeting on proposal to put water in Arkansas River

by: Lynn Casey Updated:

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TULSA, Okla. - It looks like water will be in the river around downtown Tulsa.
 
A task force held its final public meeting on the issue Tuesday night at OU’s Tulsa campus.
 
People on the task force told FOX23 their goal is to make people understand that it’s happening this time. There will be water in the river after they’re done with it.
 
Some people at the final town hall for the Arkansas River were excited at the prospect of there finally being water in what they said is the city’s greatest resource. But many others have grown weary of getting excited because they said they’ve been there before.
 
But leaders of the task force said there are three reasons this time is different.
 
“First of all we have the elected leadership throughout the region supportive of the idea whereas in the past it’s been divided. Only those community that are interested are involved,” said Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum.
 
That leads to the second reason: they won’t have to ask the entire county to vote to support building and restoring dams. They’ll only have to ask the ones in communities that would benefit from it.
 
The final reason is there are already major investments happening on the riverside, like the Gathering Place.
 
 “You have the Creek Nation spending $400 million on a hotel and casino in the hopes that there will be water,” Bynum said.
 
Councilor Blake Ewing said when it comes time to vote on the final proposal he wants the people of Tulsa to think of the city like a business. He said it’s bad business to invest only in maintaining what we have.
 
“Then we’d ultimately end up going out of business,” Ewing said.