Indian museum needs bond money to continue

Tuesday, February 19th 2008, 9:37 pm
By: News 9

By Mary Joseph, NEWS 9

The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum needs money to keep construction going. There is a bill making rounds at the Capitol that would provide $45 million of state money for the center. 

Construction continues north on Interstate 35 near Interstate 40. Right now, it is just a big mound of dirt.

Workers have poured the foundation for the center. Before they can move forward with the next phase to build on the red dirt, they need green.

American Indians from all over the country came to bless the ground in November of 2005. Back then, the target was to open by spring 2009. Because of funding, the opening date is uncertain.

The center has been plagued with federal financial issues. They expected $33 million in federal funds, but that amount did not come. Now, a state funding bill for $45 million sits with Oklahoma lawmakers.

The first $25 million would go to them immediately," said Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield. "The next $20 million would be available once it is matched by non-state sources."

To make the cultural center a reality, funding will also come from private donations, including support from Oklahoma's tribes.

In total, the culture center is a $150 million project.

If Crutchfield's bill survives, he said it will likely get rolled into a larger bond bill with other projects.