Tulsa's River Spirit Casino estimated to remain closed throughout June

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa’s River Spirit Casino Resort will remain closed at least throughout June due to flooding from the Arkansas River.

It's been closed since May 22.

The River Spirit Resort Pool deck is under water. Officials say the water has begun to seep into the interior of the building at the pool deck level with the indoor/ outdoo Tiki Bar Dining and Resort Spa.

The Resort Hotel, Margaritaville Restaurant and Casino and Ruth Chris Restaurant floor are in no danger of being compromised by the water because the level is 13 feet higher than the Resort Pool deck.

Pedestrian Bridge Closed

The pedestrian bridge in front of the resort is also closed to runners and bicyclist for safety.

"As a preventative measure, external maintenance companies have arrived at the Resort to condition the interior air of the hotel, restaurants, gaming floors and the theater," said Casino Resort Chief Officer Pat Crofts. "As designed, the water levels have not entered the interior of the ground levels, but the extended water release at this level means that we also need to remain without power for a longer period of time."

Additionally, the pedestrian trail in front of the Resort is closed indefinitely to bicyclists and runners for safety as the Resort has converted the trail for use by security and maintenance equipment relocation.

"For the safety of the public and our teams, we need to close the trail until further notice. We are utilizing the trail to relocate equipment and shuttling crews from our most northern parking," Crofts said. "This allows us to not hinder the traffic on Riverside Drive to the benefit of the public."

During the closure, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation has committed to maintaining the employee payroll for the Resort with more than 1,600 workers in the Tulsa region with a bi-weekly payroll of approximately $2.5 million. Another 200 employees are supported by the Margaritaville and Ruth's Chris restaurants.

"All facilities on the property remain structurally sound and, as designed, are withstanding the current level of release of 250,000 cubic feet per second from the Keystone Dam. We accounted for the possibility of a 100-year-flood and beyond," Crofts said."

Addressing Structural Integrity

Resort officials also responded to claims and rumors circulating on social media about the buildings' integrity:

"River Spirit and all of our facilities are structurally sound. The design and engineering of River Spirit was built to withstand a 100-year-flood and any severe weather-related event," Crofts said. "Time and again we are having to address questions and rumors being perpetuated regarding the integrity of the Resort. People tend to forget that beyond the layer of sandy soil is bedrock and we are anchored to it."

Current status as of 3:00 pm on Wednesday, May 29: 

  • The Resort Pool deck is an elevation of 615, which is the current water level. The water has entered the pool deck and the Resort swimming pool. The water has begun to seep into the interior of the building at the pool deck level with the indoor/outdoor Tiki Bar Dining and the Resort Spa.
  • The Resort Hotel, Margaritaville Restaurant and Casino are at an elevation level of 628 and is in no danger of being compromised by the water. This level is 13 feet higher than the Resort pool deck.
  • The spread of the water from the Arkansas River continues to impact the south parking lot and the subterranean parking garage at a 612 elevation level.
  • The ground level south to north driveway in front of the subterranean parking garage has water and is not accessible.
  • The North Parking garage is not accessible due to water blocking the driveway entries.
  • The Fred Creek flood channel is overflowing its containment and is joining the water flow in the Arkansas River, but does not further impact the immediate area surrounding the facilities.
  • Level 00 is an elevation of 616. The water has impacted this level which contains the loading docks, storage area and mechanical management, which are below the elevation of 616.
  • Guests scheduled to stay through June 2019 are being notified of the closure. Events, concerts and major meetings are being notified to reschedule for a future date

READ MORE: Green Country braces for flooding along the Arkansas River

The 91st and Riverside resort first closed on May 22 as the water began to rise.

"We remain fortunate that our engineering design accounted for a 100-year-flood. However, this level of water was not a previous measurement. The new water level being released today is increasing the water on our south and north parking lots, on the front service road, on the south great lawn, in the subterranean parking and on our service road leading to our loading docks," said CEO Pat Crofts. "All of the Resort hotel, Margaritaville and Ruth's Chris restaurants, Margaritaville and River Spirit Casinos, Paradise Cove Theater all remain, and will remain dry. The Resort Pool is at the biggest risk at this time."

Taking Care of Employees

While the resort is closed, Muscogee (Creek) Nation officials announced they will continue to pay all River Spirit employees normally. They said they don't want employees to worry about finances during this stressful time.

Officials said the resort employees more than $1,600 workers and maintains a bi-weekly payroll of about $2.5 million. They have committed to maintaining that payroll

Guests staying at the hotel have been relocated elsewhere and future guests with reservations will be rescheduled.

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