American Indian Cultural Center Funding to be Debated Monday

Tim Farley for the Oklahoma Gazette News
February 26th, 2014

A $40 million funding measure for the long-awaited American Indian Cultural Center and Museum will be decided Monday by the state Senate.

Construction on the cultural center stopped in 2012 when state money for the project was exhausted. Since then, supporters of the cultural center have tried to convince legislators the project can be completed if the state approves the $40 million combined with an additional $40 in private donations.

The state’s portion would come from Oklahoma’s Unclaimed Property Fund, which has a balance of about $90 million, according to state Treasurer Ken Miller. Some lawmakers had an earlier idea of using state revenue bonds to finance the cultural center, but that drew criticism from Republicans who said they didn’t want to create more debt.

Senate Bill 1651, co-authored by Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Okahoma City, would create a public trust to manage all museum assets the day the facility opens or by July 1, 2019, whichever comes first. In addition, the measure would prohibit federal funds from being used.

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