Project approved by voters in 2016
This $48 million project will make structural changes to the dam by adding gates and a stairstep design to improve safety and remove the dangerous undertow. Gates will be replaced, and the number of gates will increase from three to 15. The gates, measuring between 3 feet and 10 feet in height, will be made of stainless steel to guard against corrosion.
The pool depth will be increased to 10 feet at the dam, providing improved fish habitat, increased depth capacity for rowing events, and a larger Zink Lake – raising the depth 3 feet and lengthening the lake to just over 2 miles, reaching to upstream of the I-244 bridge.
The project also will include a 1,050-foot-long recreational flume along the east bank of the river south of the pedestrian bridge. The flume will have seven drops or pools, and potential users will include kayakers, tubers and surfers. Another important part of this project is stabilization of the east bank of the Arkansas River near the Gathering Place and the flumes on the east side of the river.
The engineering design consultant for the project is CH2MHill, and the contractor is Crossland Construction. Construction began in October 2020, and construction is scheduled to take about 28 months.
The existing Zink Dam was constructed in 1982, measuring 7 feet high and 1,030 feet long. The gates on the old dam have become inoperable and have needed to be replaced.