River Parks trail in front of casino would be rerouted under deal
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 24, 2013
3/29/13 at 2:38 PM
The River Parks trail that runs in front of River Spirit Casino at Riverside Drive and 81st Street would be rerouted behind the casino and back onto Riverside Drive under the terms of a deal being negotiated between the city of Tulsa and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
"Their intent is, yes, to have a trail that would be as nice as any trail you already have in the system and that matches the same specs as well as their plans for future expansion" of their casino, Gaylon Pinc, with Program Management Group, recently told the River Parks Authority board.
The trail would be rerouted beginning just north of the casino at Joe Creek and wind back onto Riverside Drive at the edge of the casino's south parking lot at about 87th Street, Pinc said.
The details of the agreement are still being worked out, but the tribe is expected to pay to construct the trail and provide maintenance, Pinc said.
"The way it is currently configured, runners and cyclists and young mothers with babies in strollers are all asked to cross busy intersections that are well-marked," said River Parks Authority Chairman Jim McCarthy. "However, we are not asking our trail users to do that elsewhere.
"As the casino has grown in popularity - and we think that is a good thing - traffic has grown and at the same time the trail use has grown. It is an area of safety concern."
The River Parks trail system includes 26 miles of asphalt trails that run from 11th Street to 101st Street on the east bank of the Arkansas River and 11th Street to 71st Street on the west bank of the River. The trail system also includes Katy Trail, which runs from downtown Tulsa to Adams Road in Sand Springs. The trail in front of River Spirit Casino is on city land that is leased to River Parks Authority and maintained by the authority.
River Parks Executive Director Matt Meyer said the stretch of trail in front of the casino has been a concern since it was created in the late 1990s and that conversations with the Creek Nation about addressing those concerns have always been positive.
"On behalf of our trail users, it would certainly be good," Meyer said. "It would be safer to be rerouted between the river and the casino, and we would certainly be supportive of that."
Robert Flint, 61, had just finished a run along River Parks trail near the casino Friday when he learned of the plan to reroute it behind the casino.
"That area in front of the casino is a disaster in my opinion because of the frequent stops," he said. "Anything that makes the trail free of traffic and pastoral, I am in favor of."
Original Print Headline: Plans call for rerouting of trail
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
A jogger heads through a crosswalk on a trail near the River Spirit Casino in Tulsa. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World