Bond approval allows Zink Lake dam work to proceed
BY World's Editorial Writers
Monday, February 13, 2012
2/13/12 at 2:47 AM
A key hurdle in the development of the Arkansas River was cleared Thursday with the approval of the sales of bonds to repair and improve the Zink Lake dam.
Approval of the $26 million in bonds had been delayed by the Oklahoma Council on Bond Oversight when that panel earlier required that the Legislature sign off on the plan. It was feared then that the requirement would slow down or even kill the work on the river. Tuesday's 5-0 vote, however, directed all the state money to the Zink Lake dam project.
The complete Arkansas River proposal, which includes two more low-water dams at Sand Springs and Jenks, carries a price tag of $75 million. The outstanding money is expected to come from the federal government when it becomes available.
The allocation of federal funds is what caused the oversight panel to balk earlier. But, with some pressure from the Oklahoma Capitol Improvements Authority and some convincing from Tulsa leaders, the board reconsidered and approved the bond sale.
Chris Benge, former speaker of the House and now Tulsa Metro Chamber's senior vice president for government affairs, noted that funding for the river project always has been contingent on federal funds and legislators were aware of that.
He also pointed out the Legislature, since 2008, has approved the Arkansas River project in four votes - two to approve the bond issues and two to approve appropriations to finance the bonds.
Benge also said that the federal funding has been approved by Congress and is expected some day.
This is great news for Tulsa and the supporters of river development. The Zink Lake dam is old and has been deteriorating for years. Its design made it a death trap for those caught in its swirling water. The new dam will make the area safer and, most important, will keep water in the lake. A lake without water is just sand.
There are exciting plans for the Arkansas River and the River Parks. A lot of those plans depended on having water in the river.
Now, let's get rolling.
Original Print Headline: Water, water