ANADARKO — The Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma plans to buy Indian City USA and its 200 acres. The 53-year-old landmark south of Anadarko has been for sale for more than a year. "A business plan is being finalized, and the property will be converted from fee status to trust status,” Kiowa Business Committee Chairman Don Neconie said in a statement after Tuesday's announcement. Obtaining trust status means Indian City USA no longer would be subject to property taxes or local control. Indian City USA was organized by the citizens of Anadarko in 1954. The theme park features seven Indian villages, each representing a different local tribe's heritage. The site also includes a campground, museum and lodge. In its heyday, it was a popular tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world, said Linda Poolaw, chairman of the attraction's board of directors. In recent years, however, tourism at the site has waned, forcing what Poolaw said will be a bittersweet sale. Poolaw said the details on the sale haven't been completed. Modina Waters, a Kiowa who worked with the tribe in planning the purchase, said the tribe hopes to maintain and improve the facility. "Our future plans would include, first of all, planning for any type of construction and then seeking the funding,” Waters said. "Right now, the plan is to complete the purchase and take over the current operation, and then later the planning group will work with the appropriate parties to go forward.” It would be the Kiowa Tribe's second recent foray into tourism in southwest Oklahoma. The tribe's Kiowa Casino in Devol will open in two weeks. Poolaw said the tribe has been in talks with her board for the last several months. She said other parties approached the board about buying Indian City. "We were really looking for local buyers, preferably, but we advertised nationally,” she said. "And personally, as chairman of the board, I was really wanting to really, really let someone have it that lives around here and grew up with it and loves it,” Poolaw said. She said the board could approve a contract at its next meeting, scheduled for later this month.
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