Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 7, 2012

Council hears about streambank project

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah city councilors on Monday got a detailed look at ongoing bank stabilization projects from around the area.

Planning and Development Director Doug Moore said the stimulus money  for the project has saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moore said contractors used a number of methods along creeks to help deter erosion. In some places, water flow was redirected through installation of boulders and logs, “shelves” and “ripple pools,” which slow the water’s flow to ease erosion, and introduce new habitats in the creek.

“There was a total of 11 projects all together, the remainder down the river, and some of them are taking a little more time,” said Moore.

Moore said the work has captured attention from officials in larger communities such as Tulsa, and several workshops have been held at local construction sites to teach others how to perform similar work elsewhere. He said the project helps tie in areas along the creek where the city is trying to build a public trail.

During a public comment portion of Monday night’s monthly council meeting, local resident Phil Jones encouraged city officials to keep their eyes on a quarter-penny sales tax recently removed from the county rolls.

“We have a quarter-of-a-penny sales tax that’s open again, and it’s had a haunted little past, from the [Northeastern State University] stadium, to the roofs and the plumbing on the schools, and I think it’s time for us to do something bold for all the people of Tahlequah, which will benefit the bureaucracies, too, that feed on that quarter of a penny,” Jones said. “[The city should] come up with a vision, an economic development plan that’s serious.”

Jones suggested the city consider a 10- or 15-year commitment.

“We have more members of the Chamber of Commerce now than ever before; these people were fired up about six months ago ... but there’s no funding,” said Jones.

He recommended city councilors  look at plans developed about 25 years ago, when officials spent a great deal of money and conducted “some serious studies on what would be good for this city.”

“I think that’s where we need to look. We’re not a Tulsa or Oklahoma City, but we can build it on a Tahlequah scale,” said Jones. “Look at Oklahoma City. They built a wading pool through town, and look what’s happened with it. We’ve got real water, and tourist attractions. I think we really need to think about the people getting the money this time, and a 10-year commitment, maybe 15 years.”

Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols told Jones there may be a future plan presented to city leaders similar to Jones’ proposal.

“That idea has been kicked around a little bit vaguely,” said Nichols.

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