Arkansas River: November 2006 Archives

Detachable islands

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A blog called Brand Avenue has an item about The Channels and at the end of it, they link to a webpage about proposed islands in another stream, the Mississippi River at St. Louis:

When the Great Rivers Greenway District called upon Balmori Associates to provide a proposal for the St. Louis riverfront master plan in October 2005, the firm initially developed four schemes for the underutilized three-quarter mile riverfront. Traditional plans of a pedestrian promenade in a landscaped park were discarded, however, for a more bold and atypical concept: a riverfront of floating islands....

The current proposal includes a series of islands suspended on catamaran-like supports and linked by floating walkways. The original proposal included detachable landforms, which would be flexible enough to change the shape and size of the islands. A major benefit of the proposal is not only this flexibility in landform configuration but also in the potential to change the riverfront’s seasonal activities. As [project manager Javier] Gonzalez explained, “You could detach one of the connecting pieces to attach a new one with a new function. In one you may have a kiosk in the summer, then you could take it to the shipyard and come back with another island with something for the winter.”

When I read the word "landforms" I keep thinking about Colorforms.

By the way, the reason the St. Louis riverfront is "underutilized" is because it was cleaned out by urban renewal.

In today's Whirled, John Kennington, president of the Tulsa Audubon Society, writes, in a letter to the editor, that there are studies that have not yet been done, but ought to be done before putting funding for The Channels to a vote of the people:

The Tulsa Audubon Society is concerned about the impact of The Channels on wildlife and river habitats, especially least terns and bald eagles. TAS serves on the Arkansas River Advisory Committee, which has received answers to its environmental concerns.

Because of those answers we cannot endorse this project. There are too many unknowns, assumptions and guesses about specific design elements and costs....

The studies and modeling needed to develop detailed plans and cost estimates are all scheduled after the design phase, after the proposed election. The detailed groundwater model will take nine months, so a February vote will be based on optimistic guesses. It has been stated that "researching flow volume and cost to validate our order of magnitude costs" are still being studied.

Emphasis added -- when Kennington quotes The Channels' backers as saying they need to validate their "order of magnitude costs," they aren't talking about the difference between $788 million and $888 million, they're talking about the difference between $788 million and $1.6 billion or more. At the public hearing at OSU-Tulsa last month, it was argued that the Tulsa Stakeholders had done their homework, they had the best experts in the world studying this, and we should stop complaining and trust them. It's apparent now that the concerns raised at that hearing hadn't been considered at all -- e.g., the impact of rising river levels on groundwater levels in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Last week, the Brookside Neighborhood Association and the Coalition of Historic Neighborhoods hosted a forum about The Channels that focused on dialogue rather than slick presentations. According to the Whirled's story, the group identified four things they liked about the islands-in-the-stream proposal and two pages' worth of things they didn't like.

I hope that the Tulsa Stakeholders are beginning to realize that their plan isn't going to move forward for a long time, if ever. Perhaps they can begin looking at alternative ways to spend that $100 million, where strategic, positive things can be accomplished without the public expense and logistical problems involved in The Channels' proposal.

Just got this in e-mail:

SpiritBank Business Resource Center

You are invited to join us for a very important
Reaching Tulsa's Full Potential
Maximizing the Momentum of Our City

Co-facilitated by
Don Himelfarb, Economic Development Director, City of Tulsa
Thursday, November 16, 2006
4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Penthouse Reception 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
SpiritTower - Community Room
1800 South Baltimore Avenue, Tulsa

In May 2005, Kathy Taylor, then Oklahoma's Secretary of Commerce, co-facilitated a BRC Think-A-Torium designed to illuminate the many efforts underway that are supporting Tulsa in reaching her full potential.

Please join us as we gain a better understanding of all the public and private projects being launched or are underway in Tulsa and the surrounding region.

This interactive strategic brainstorming session will be graphically facilitated by Sean Griffin. Outcomes include the following:

  • Increased understanding of the many projects currently in process

  • How to plug into existing projects

  • The value of "coopetition"

  • Creating a collaborative and diverse community

  • Meeting the challenges of the global war for talent

  • Gain new perspectives on our changing city

  • Interacting with Tulsa business leaders

RSVP to Christy Gehrki at 918-295-7236 or e-mail cgehrki at spiritbank dot com.
Seating is limited so sign up early!

Sponsored by James Shirley Management Consultants, Inc., HR Business Links and Triad Interactive Marketing & Software.

To give you a flavor of this sort of event, here is a link to a summary of the May 2005 Think-A-Torium. Based on the description above, I think it would be important for anyone involved with a project for improving Tulsa to show up and share information about it, so it doesn't get left out of the big picture. If nothing else, this is a chance to educate Mr. Himelfarb, new to the job as the City's economic development director, about aspects of Tulsa's economy of which he may not yet be aware.


See Dubya suggests a tongue-in-cheek tag line for Think-A-Torium: "Where rational thought goes to be incinerated!" He also says he knows someone who once went to a similar event with the name "Visioneering."

It is an interesting choice of suffix. I can't think of any really positive words that end in "torium." There's crematorium, moratorium, vomitorium, sanitorium.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Arkansas River category from November 2006.

Arkansas River: October 2006 is the previous archive.

Arkansas River: December 2006 is the next archive.

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