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New Plan Proposed To Finish American Indian Cultural Center

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State funding would be used to match $40-million given in private donations. The museum has sat unfinished since construction began in 2006, and even critics of the project want it finished. State funding would be used to match $40-million given in private donations. The museum has sat unfinished since construction began in 2006, and even critics of the project want it finished.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

There's a plan to finally finish the American Indian Cultural Center. A senate committee approves the use of $40-million from the Unclaimed Property fund.

State funding would be used to match $40-million given in private donations. The museum has sat unfinished since construction began in 2006, and even critics of the project want it finished.

"This is a big step to getting the construction starting again," said Sen. Kyle Loveless.

Loveless has been pushing for funding to complete the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum for at least the past two years. But it's a project that's remained untouched for the past seven years because there hasn't been a consistent funding plan.

The Senate appropriations committee voted 21-to-3 to tap $40-million from the states Unclaimed Property Fund. The hope is to finally complete the museum with the help of private donations.

"$80-million total will complete the project, and hopefully it will be open in about two or three years," said Loveless.

2/19/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Panel Advances Plan To Tap Fund For Museum

Loveless says it will be a dollar-for-dollar match and a public and private partnership. It will also be the last piece to get construction started again.

"If there [are] cost overruns or delays, that's not on the state obligation anymore," said Loveless.

"Anything that is of quality and of worth takes time, and we understand that," said Shoshana Wasserman.

Wasserman, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and the Director of Communications for the museum says it will have the economic power to captivate a visitor and keep them here in Oklahoma.

"Very excited at the potential of completing the vision that was started so many years ago," said Wasserman.

"Our challenge was not to rewrite history, our challenge was to finish the project," said Loveless.

The bill to tap into the Unclaimed Property Fund to finish the museum will now advance to the full Senate.

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