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Finding A Way To Finish AICCM Could Be On Hold Until After November Elections

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American Indian Cultural Center & Museum
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Time stretches on for the unfinished American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near downtown Oklahoma City. The silvery struts jut up into the sky, the grass grows on the Cahokia-style mound and the river runs past the site, just north of the intersection of Interstates 40 and 35.

However, some are banking on the idea that the upcoming elections and state legislative session could bring the winds of change, according to Brian Brus’ story in the September 12 edition of the Journal Record.

“We won’t come out of this limbo until we see how the elections shake out,” said Wade, executive director of the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority, which is overseeing the development of the museum. “The 20 positions that are vacant or up for re-election are vital to this process, and we’re confident about the outcome…We just met with Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman, and he asked us to wait until November to do a head count,” Wade said. “And Sen. Clark Jolley of the Senate is looking at possible avenues to assist as well.”

To some, the project seemed like a good idea at the time. Journal Record Managing Editor Adam Brooks sums up the original dream for those who envisioned the museum.

“Oklahoma City donated some land in the area for the museum. The idea was that you build a world-class facility that honors our heritage and brings in a lot of people and the city would make up the money in sales-tax revenue down the road. The state has already spent $64 million to help build that out.”

With that much in, and a projected more-than-$40-million deficit that the legislature will have to make up to finish construction might make the project less of a windfall sweeping down the plains, at least in the eyes of some of the elected officials.

Still, supporters at the state capitol suggest the project would be just that--a windfall into the Central Oklahoma economy. A failed Oklahoma State Senate bill  in March projected the museum could bring $3.8 billion in 20 years.
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The Business Intelligence Report is a collaborative news project between KGOU and the Journal Record.

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