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Tulsa World: Creeks buy Jenks bridge land

Tulsa World: Creeks buy Jenks bridge land

by: CLIFTON ADCOCK World Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 03, 2009
6/3/2009 3:35:55 AM

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has purchased three plots of land on the northern bank of the Arkansas River that may lead to a bridge between south Tulsa and Jenks.

The tribe's council in April passed three pieces of legislation to buy a total of 42.50 acres near 121st Street and Yale Avenue.

The land is south of 121st Street and just east of John Deere Landscapes, between Yale Avenue and Sheridan Road. The properties sit across 121st Street from the Villas of Tuscany and Hunter's Hills housing additions.

One of the properties, bought by the tribe from the Easton Family Limited Partnership for about $1.4 million, is situated on the north bank of the Arkansas River. The other two properties, bought from John and Sara Davenport for $270,000 and $797,400 respectively, are north of the Easton property on 121st Street.

The warranty deeds to the properties were filed Monday with the Tulsa County Court Clerk's office.

Creek Nation officials have said the tribe plans to erect a bridge on the property spanning the river and connecting Jenks and south Tulsa.

A similar proposal by the city of Jenks to build a toll bridge a few years ago met with resistance. The matter ended up before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which decided that Jenks could not build the bridge without the city of Tulsa's consent.

Members of the community surrounding the proposed bridge area, and Tulsa City Councilor Bill Christiansen, have protested the bridge plan. That alignment, they say, could create safety issues, and infrastructure improvements would be required to accommodate the additional traffic.

Christiansen said he has not heard from tribal officials about plans for the land, and is concerned that if a bridge is built, it will funnel traffic up Yale Avenue.

"I don't know why they wouldn't work with the city on this issue," Christiansen said. "We don't have enough money to pay for the infrastructure needed that would go along with adding additional traffic."

The tribal legislation that approved the land purchase requires that the land be put into trust with the federal government, so it would not be subject to state and local jurisdiction.

Christiansen said letters likely will be sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs against land being placed in trust once the process is under way.

Phone messages left for the tribe's principal chief, A.D. Ellis, by the Tulsa World on Tuesday were not returned.

Clifton Adcock 581-8462

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