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Plans Shape Up For American Indian Cultural Center In OKC

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American Indian Cultural Center plans move forward. American Indian Cultural Center plans move forward.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Well over two decades in the making, a plan to finish the American Indian Cultural Center is finally shaping up.

This, after Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill to get the job done with big help from Oklahoma City.

"We've been stalled since 2012, and we're certainly are looking forward to getting construction going and getting this completed," said Blake Wade, CEO of the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority.

4/14/2015 Related Story: State Lawmakers Consider Giving Unfinished Indian Cultural Center To City Of OKC

More than the center and museum, the center is exploring the potential of businesses on the 162 acres surrounding the building.

"There's excitement of all kinds of economic development, hotels, restaurants and art dealers,” Wade said.

5/12/2015 Related Story: House Speaker Presents Plan To Finish American Indian Cultural Center

"It's to get Oklahoma City to accept us and to work the agreement with the state, and we'll be managed by them."

Legislation called for the state to give up $25 million in bonds combined with $31 million in privately raised funds. That leaves Oklahoma City to pay $9 million.

“This requires a significant capital investment on our part as well as the private sector and then there are the operational issues of operating this 30 years into the future," said Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City.

Mayor Mick Cornett has selected a three-member team of city council members to decide if the city will take on the project or leave it back up to the state.

“This is an offer that we can consider, there's no negotiation a part of this, we either take it or we don't,” Cornett said.

"I think there's an economic development opportunity out there with the right business deal, and we just have to figure out if this is that deal or not."

Wade believes the center will be the "bookend" to fit perfectly with projects along the Oklahoma River.

Cornett said the city could have an answer on if they'll take on the center by this summer.

Wade would like for construction to continue in January.

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