Oklahoma City commits $9M to American Indian Cultural Center and Museum
The Oklahoma City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to commit $9 million of the $80 million needed to finish the American Indian Cultural Center. The commitment only becomes reality if the state commits $40 million. Tribes and private donors are lined up to provide the rest.
The half-finished American Indian Cultural Center will get $9 million from Oklahoma City to help complete construction if the state agrees to provide $40 million for the project.
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The Oklahoma City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to commit $9 million of the $80 million needed to finish the $170 million museum. Construction began in 2006 but was halted last year when the Legislature didn't approve a request for a bond issue to pay for finishing it.
The city's decision is contingent upon the state providing an additional $40 million for the museum. Tribes and private donors have pledged the rest of the money needed to finish the project, said J. Blake Wade, CEO of the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority (NACEA), the state agency building the museum.
Wade and other supporters will soon put together a package detailing the commitments from the city, tribes and private donors to state officials in hopes the state will fund the remaining $40 million.
The council used a resolution signifying a “commitment and pledge” to spend the $9 million on the museum, a mechanism thought to be unprecedented in Oklahoma City. It is essentially legally binding because the city could be sued if the state agrees to spend the $40 million, but the city later backs out.
Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid expressed worry the move sets a bad precedent for spending commitments. But the consensus among council members was that the museum will be a benefit to Oklahoma City on a cultural and financial level.
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