continue our vision

Q&A for All Projects

How long has this package been discussed and researched?

How will this be on the ballot / How many questions will we be asked to vote on?

Which areas of the community will receive projects?

How does this affect our taxes?

Can you explain the need for more police officers?

How will we pay for these new officers long-term?

What benefit will the economic development projects bring?

How will these new low-water dams actually work?

How did officials decide where to locate the lakes?

Has there been much public input on this Arkansas River project?

Will these low-water dams be safer than the current Zink Dam?

How will the low-water dams handle silt issues?

In what order will the low-water dams be built?

Will the dams cause flooding?

Does the River package in the Vision Tulsa project include funding to repair Tulsa’s aging system of levees that prevents flooding along the Arkansas River?

Isn’t some money from the River project going to purchase additional land for the nearby Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness area?

Will this project add trails and parks along the Arkansas River?

Is the plan to create lakes that people can actually get in and use for recreation?

Will the lakes be open to watercraft?

Why are two low-water dams included in the Vision Tulsa proposal?

How do we know the cost estimates for these river projects are accurate?

What happens if the cost is higher than projected?

How do we keep the new dams running effectively?

Will the Muscogee (Creek) Nation be contributing to the cost, since they will benefit from it and don’t pay taxes?

How will the banks of these lakes be stabilized?

Who will administer these dams and the River District?

What happens during a dry or drought period – where will the water come from?

What type of development will take place along the river?

Will these dams help to improve water flow and improve the bad smell along parts of the river?

What is the projected positive economic impact of these River projects to the Tulsa area?

 

 

 

 

How long has this package been discussed and researched?

  • We have been studying this proposal for more than two years, from all angles: through the Public Safety Task Force, Arkansas River Development Task Force, and Vision Economic Development Task Force.
  • These task forces included subject matter experts, legal and financial experts, and a great deal of input from Tulsa’s citizens. We are confident that each component in this proposal is needed, has been thoroughly vetted and will benefit Tulsans for years to come.

 

How will this be on the ballot / How many questions will we be asked to vote on?

  • There will be three questions for the Tulsa portion on the ballot, Propositions 1, 2, and 3.
  • Tulsa County also will have a question on the ballot.
  • More details can be found online at VistionTulsa.com.

 

Which areas of the community will receive projects?

  • The Mayor and all nine City Councilors have worked for more than two years to ensure that all of Tulsa’s citizens will benefit. A few key ways that will happen:
    • All Tulsans will benefit from the greatest investment in public safety in Tulsa’s history, and the safety and security that investment will build.
    • All Tulsans will benefit from the investment in streets maintenance, preserving the road projects that are happening now in all parts of our city.
    • And all Tulsans will benefit from the economic development projects because they generate much-needed tax revenue that helps fund general operations but these projects also provide great facilities we can enjoy that enhance our quality of life.

 

How does this affect our taxes?

  • It is NOT a tax increase; rates will stay the same as they are today under this proposal.
  • For public safety funding, however, we thought it would be irresponsible to train, hire, and equip new police officers and firefighters – but not ensure the funding was there long-term to guarantee this greater level of safety and security. That is why this portion is permanent.
  • For transit funding, we also have learned that we cannot afford to allow our city to fall behind in streets maintenance and providing transit options that reduce traffic.

 

 

PUBLIC SAFETY 

Can you explain the need for more police officers?

  • The University of Cincinnati’s Center for Criminal Justice Research conducted an independent analysis of Tulsa’s manpower needs and found that we were dramatically short in our number of patrol officers. This shortage makes it difficult for our officers to be proactive in solving and preventing crime. The staffing shortage also dramatically increases costs of overtime for our city. By hiring more officers, we can identify crime challenges in advance, and proactively address them – instead of having to respond after a crime occurs.
  • We have also included funding for key areas where we know Tulsa needs help: a targeted effort to reduce domestic violence, strengthening our neighborhoods through the Crime Prevention Network.

How will we pay for these new officers long-term?

  • We take the training, hiring, and equipping of these new officers seriously. Because of that, we have proposed making a portion of Vision and Improve Our Tulsa permanent, to guarantee to Tulsa’s citizens that this level of funding for public safety specifically will always be there.

 

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

What benefit will the economic development projects bring?

  • These proposed projects also will generate economic impact, they will create jobs and they will enhance our quality of life as Tulsa residents.
  • The BOK Center is a great example of how economic development projects benefit a community. Since it opened in 2008, it has sparked approximately $921 million in private development in Downtown Tulsa including residential, retail, restaurants, and nightlife. The arena employs nearly 100 full-time employees and more than 450 part-time employees. The BOK Center has generated nearly $17 million in sales tax revenue (average of $2.4 million a year) and has delivered an estimated economic impact of nearly $300 million for Tulsa.

 

 

ARKANSAS RIVER DEVELOPMENT

How will these new low-water dams actually work?

  • The design for both dams calls for a system of steel vertical gates on hinges that rise when a large rubber bladder at their base is inflated. The hinges will connect the steel gates to the foundation of the dams, forming walls when the downstream bladders fill and lowering the gates when the bladders deflate.

How did officials decide where to locate the lakes?

  • Each of the lake locations and associated public access/recreational improvements was identified during development of the Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan, which included an initial assessment of any potential impacts to the river hydraulic capacity, including the required gate area openings.
  • Key issues addressed in the studies included:
    • How tall can a lake be built without getting into the 100-year flood plan?
    • What is the most shoreline available to create a large lake?
    • What lake locations would not disturb existing tributaries or cause flooding problems?

Has there been much public input on this Arkansas River project?

  • Yes, Vision’s River Project has been vetted in more than a dozen public meetings and 45 river task force meetings over the last two years, with significant input from Tulsa residents and River Task Force members.
  • This proposal also builds on local, state and federal studies done over several decades – all with the specific goal of making Tulsa better and more attractive by developing the Arkansas River smartly.

Will these low-water dams be safer than the current Zink Dam?

  • One of the primary goals of the project is to reduce hazards at the existing Zink Dam and to avoid the creation of hydraulic rollers at the South Tulsa/Jenks dam location. In this reach of the Arkansas River, numerous drownings have been recorded at the existing Zink Dam.
  • The proposed dam design involves constructing the downstream face of the dam with a series of steps that disrupt the formation of hazardous hydraulic roller conditions. Furthermore, the gate operational plan will prevent flow over the top of any full-height gate greater than six inches during non-flood release conditions.
  • In addition, the design includes installation of signage, warning systems and cabled buoys upstream of the dams to warn the public of potential dangers.

How will the low-water dams handle silt issues?

  • The dam design selected by City of Tulsa engineers and hydrologists utilizes a vulcanized rubber air bladder to raise and lower the steel dam gates to the full down position.
  • This modern dam technology is in use in cities around the world, on similar sized dams as well as on much larger dam gates.
  • As sediment builds next to a dam, officials will be able to lower the full height gates in that area completely flat onto the riverbed so the sediment and sand can flow downstream.
  • During periods of higher flows, sediment passage downstream can also be enhanced with the gates in the full down position at all of the dam locations.
  • An operations plan will be developed in the future to coordinate dam operations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In what order will the low-water dams be built?

  • Funding becomes available for Vision Tulsa projects beginning in 2017. The Zink Dam modifications have already had their 404 permit review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Tulsa/Jenks Dam 404 permit has been submitted for review. Permitting and final design of the Zink project can begin as soon as funding is available and while the South Tulsa/Jenks dam is completing the 404 permit process and then moves into final design, which is projected to occur from early 2017 through the end of 2018.
  • Construction on Zink Dam would start in early 2018 and be completed in 2020.
  • Construction on the South Tulsa/Jenks Dam would begin later in 2020 and be completed in early 2022.

Will the dams cause flooding?

  • FEMA’s goal is to avoid causing the water surface to rise above the elevation of the current regulatory 100-year flood event to ensure no adverse, cumulative impact. The designs for both of the dams provide additional gates to mitigate the floodway impacts of the dams. Each of the dams has been subjected to a rigorous hydraulic analysis to determine what impacts might result from its construction.
  • Under daily river flow conditions when there are no flood releases from Keystone Dam, the typical flows are the result of releases from Southwestern Power Administration’s two power generation units, each discharging approximately 6,000 cubic feet/second (cfs). This typical 6,000–12,000 cfs flow range can be accommodated by the crest gates at the South Tulsa/Jenks location. At Zink Dam, the crest gates will accommodate up to approximately 6,800 cfs, and then the full-height gate capacity will be required for higher flows.

Does the River package in the Vision Tulsa project include funding to repair Tulsa’s aging system of levees that prevents flooding along the Arkansas River?

  • Vision Tulsa’s River package will provide $5 million in local funds toward needed work to rebuild Tulsa’s aging levees along the Arkansas River – a levee system that is still crucial to prevent flooding and potential loss of property and life. There is also $5 million in Tulsa County’s Vision package for levee repair. This total of $10 million will provide a local cost share with the federal government for a much larger rehab project for Levee District 12 rehabilitation.

Isn’t some money from the River project going to purchase additional land for the nearby Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness area?

  • Yes, $5.4 million has been set aside to purchase about 50 acres on Turkey Mountain for Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, with an additional $1.6 million in funding for trail and campsite improvements. The land had been previously targeted for an outlet mall before the plan was scrapped.

Will this project add trails and parks along the Arkansas River?

  • In addition to the two low-water dams and the lakes they create, this corridor-wide plan includes several new trails, parks and river access areas along the river.

Is the plan to create lakes that people can actually get in and use for recreation?

  • Both lakes are intended to be a draw to attract people for recreation and enjoyment. Surrounding amenities will include trails, parks, pedestrian bridges, boat docks, kayaking and rowing opportunities.
  • The lake created by the refurbished Zink Dam will have a body of water nearly three miles long and would average 4-6 feet in depth. It also will be adjacent to A Gathering Place, the largest park to be developed in the United States in several decades.
  • The proposed low-water dam at South Tulsa/Jenks would have a body of water nearly four miles long and would average 4‐6 feet in depth. The low water dam will also have a pedestrian bridge that will span from bank to bank.

Will the lakes be open to watercraft?

  • The plan is for the lakes to be accessible for recreational boating of various types, with new boat docks scheduled to be built as part of the South Tulsa/Jenks lake amenities.

Why are two low-water dams included in the Vision Tulsa proposal?

  • The two proposed low-water dams in the Vision Tulsa proposal – a rebuilt Zink Dam and the new South Tulsa/Jenks Dam – are integral pieces of the Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan that has been developed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the City of Tulsa and other state and local agencies.

Both dams will play an important role in both flood control and economic development, in addition to serving as focal points for additional parkland and trails along the Arkansas River.

Flood Control

  • Zink Dam, in its current state, is unable to release large amounts of water downstream should Keystone Dam need to release water at flood stages.
  • Building two dams with the ability to lower their gates to the river floor provides better flood control and reduces the danger of flooding. The new design of the Zink Dam would also remove the dangerous undertow that has resulted in the loss of both property and life.

Economic Development

  • The two new dams will create two large lakes and 12 miles of shoreline in Tulsa and Jenks that can spur economic development and positively impact the area economy.
  • The South Tulsa/Jenks Dam is expected to be an especially strong driver of economic development for the area.
  • The Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan, combined with the proposed River Overlay District, ensures a plan is in place that protects the natural parkland and trails Tulsans love while identifying strategic areas for river-focused economic growth and development.

How do we know the cost estimates for these river projects are accurate?

  • Cost estimates were developed and approved by a regional team composed of the city engineers for Tulsa, Sand Springs, Jenks, and Bixby – as well as private sector experts. All parties endorsed the estimates. Material costs were developed using standard costs, except for the dam gate equipment costs, which were based on manufacturers’ quotations. Costs have been adjusted for Tulsa local area pricing and validated by local construction firms.

What happens if the cost is higher than projected?

  • The national engineering firms consulted for the design of the dams and related River amenities are comfortable they have built in the proper contingencies in their cost estimates and have signed off on the engineering report.
  • The plans and costs estimates have also been vetted by local, county, state and federal officials and organizations overseeing the Arkansas River.

How do we keep the new dams running effectively? The old Zink Dam has required a lot of repair over the years.

  • Unlike when the Zink Dam was constructed, this Vision River plan will put long-term plan in place to provide for regular maintenance of the low-water dams so they operate well for decades to come.

Will the Muscogee (Creek) Nation be contributing to the cost, since they will benefit from it and don’t pay taxes?

  • Representatives of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation have been active members of the Regional Arkansas River Task Force since its creation.
  • In a joint statement released March 8, officials from the City of Tulsa, the City of Jenks and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation all agreed that the proper sequence of events regarding the Vision River package was for Tulsa and Jenks to first pass the Vision River proposal while the newly installed Muscogee (Creek) principal chief and several new council members perform due diligence on the project. Once the proposal has passed, Tulsa and Jenks will continue their discussions with the Muscogee (Creek) principal chief and national council on how the Nation can continue to partner on the Arkansas River Corridor.
  • Should Jenks or the Muscogee (Creek) Nation not be able to contribute to the funding of the River projects, a contingency plan has been developed by the City of Tulsa that could divert funding from the South Tulsa/Jenks dam to a permanent maintenance fund for the other River projects to ensure that any facilities developed along the Arkansas River will be properly maintained.

How will the banks of these lakes be stabilized?

  • The existing riverbank areas along the Arkansas River vary in condition. As a part of this project, the engineering team assessed the riverbank within the new lake areas and estimated costs to alleviate further bank erosion.
  • Assessments confirmed that the underlying cause of existing bank failures was directly related to the absence or lack of stream bank “toe” protection in the majority of locations. Depending on the condition of a particular stretch of river bank, one of several bank stabilization treatment options (using additional rocks, etc.) will be utilized.

Who will administer these dams and the River District?

  • Administration will be overseen by a coalition of the entities involved in this project – the City of Tulsa, the City of Jenks and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

What happens during a dry or drought period – where will the water come from?

  • This project is about better utilizing the water that’s already flowing through our city. According to the U.S. Corps of Engineers, residents will continue to see water released approximately five days a week from Keystone Dam for electric generation. In a dry period, the river will look like it does now – a “braided river” state with water levels fluctuating in response to water releases from Keystone Dam.

What type of development will take place along the river?

  • INCOG, urban planners and other local and state officials have developed a comprehensive plan to guide development along both sides of the Arkansas River (from green space, buildings, parking and lighting to signage and commercial development).
  • This proposed River Design Overlay (RDO) and the accompanying regulations will ensure a balance of natural green space, parks and private development along this important natural resource. To learn more about the River Design Overlay district, click here.

Will these dams help to improve water flow and improve the bad smell along parts of the river?

  • The odor sometimes noticeable along parts of the Arkansas River comes from the nearby wastewater treatment plant, not from stagnant water.
  • In the recent Improve Our Tulsa package passed in 2013, the City of Tulsa funded a technology that will address this problem.
  • Additionally, by reducing periods of very low flows and entraining oxygen as the flow tumbles over the cascade features of the dams, the water quality will be further benefitted.

What is the projected positive economic impact of these River projects to the Tulsa area?

  • A study just completed by OU’s Center for Economic & Management Research shows Vision Tulsa’s proposed River improvements package could add $122 million in annual economic impact to the Tulsa community from river development.
  • The study, performed by OU economist Robert Dauffenbach, Ph.D. and his team, also estimates Vision’s river development projects could generate 1,850 jobs and $85 million in labor income to the Tulsa economy annually.
  • The study was done at the request of the Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force, the Tulsa Regional Chamber and INCOG to look at the potential economic impacts on employment and income of Vision’s proposed river development and to provide Tulsa residents with an independent, third-party assessment of the return on investment they can expect from their investment if Vision Tulsa is approved on April 5.
  • Dr. Dauffenbach wrote in the study that “conservative estimates of economic impacts reveal it would require only modest employment and income responses to justify the proposed plan for Tulsa riverfront development.”
  • To see the full OU River economic impact report, click here.
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