$1 million sought for 'Band-Aid' repairs to Zink Dam
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Friday, February 15, 2013
2/15/13 at 8:22 AM
The River Parks Authority is in discussions with the city, county and AEP-PSO to raise $1 million for temporary improvements to Zink Dam.
The authority has asked each entity to contribute $250,000 to the project with the authority also providing $250,000.
The funds would be used to replate the dam's three gates, replace seals and reposition silt that has accumulated in the Arkansas River north of the dam.
"It is important for us to be real clear that this is a Band-Aid situation," authority Chairman Jim McCarthy told fellow trustees Thursday.
River Parks officials have been looking for new funding options to repair the dam since the fall, when two potential major funding sources fell through.
On Nov. 6, county voters rejected Vision2, which included $41 million for the project. Two weeks later, the state Supreme Court ruled that a planned $25 million bond issue to improve the Zink Lake dam on the Arkansas River is unconstitutional.
"Basically it's just a situation (where) the three gates in Zink Dam are all 50-feet wide, all rusting out badly and have holes in them," River Parks Authority Executive Director Matt Meyer said.
The first issue to be addressed would be the removal and repositioning of accumulated silt north of the dam. The work is needed to ensure that American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma's water supply from the river - which comes through a pipe upstream - is fed on a consistent basis to the company's plant on the west bank of the river.
The water is used in the plant's cooling system.
The River Parks Authority and AEP-PSO plan to use the silt to create a channel that would divert additional water to the west side of the river and into the pipe.
McCarthy said the work must be completed by April 1, which is when the least terns begin arriving at the river. The silt to be moved is not a protected area for the birds but does fall within the area that cannot be disturbed while the least terns are on the river, he said.
Tulsa County has offered to provide manpower and equipment to move the silt, McCarthy said.
The major funding proposals that fell through in the fall would have been used for a major renovation of Zink Dam, including the addition of new gates to manage water flow and create a pool of water large enough to provide recreational opportunities.
Now River Parks is looking to simply plug holes and replace the seals to help maintain a more consistent and deeper pool of water north of the dam.
Meyer described the $1 million project as a "five-year Band-Aid."
"I am not going to go out to bid and waste everybody's time until the funding is shored up," he said. "But that is the direction we're headed."
Original Print Headline: $1 million sought for dam repairs
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313