Officials Discuss Issues Stalling The American Indian Cultural Center

Monday, August 1st 2016, 6:29 pm
By: Karl Torp

A year after state lawmakers handed over control on the American Indian Cultural Center to Oklahoma City, the project remains stalled. 

In March, the Chickasaw Nation agreed to partner with the city to finish the project.

It's been given permission to develop the land around the museum which could include hotels, restaurants and retail. In exchange, the Chickasaw Nation will covering operating costs of the museum.

However, there's a major hang up with a possible agreement.

"That something that we can have to work through with the Chickasaw Nation to ensure that they have get clear title and that does encumber that property where they would be limited in how they can develop the property,” said Oklahoma City Director of Finance Craig Freeman.

Freeman said the way the legislation that handed over the AICCM to Oklahoma City as it was written has presented challenges.

“We were warned when we started that it would take months,” said Freeman about what city attorneys said when the legislation was first signed.

So far, working through the complex agreement has taken five months, but a clear operating agreement still hasn’t be reached.

“The partnership with the city and the Chickasaw Nation is really what's critical for this project to move forward,” Freeman said.

The city said it's possible that it may ask lawmakers to change the wording of the legislation in order to make it easier to reach an agreement with the Chickasaw Nation.