OKLAHOMA CITY – Work on the more than $100 million American Indian Cultural Center and Museum is far from over.
Supporters hope that Oklahoma lawmakers will vote to approve funding to help pay for the final phase of construction.
Construction work on the museum has been put on hold because they don’t have enough money to move forward.
NewsChannel4 learned the project is about 50% done, but they still need $80 million to finish it.
At the crossroads of interstates 35 and 40 just south of downtown Oklahoma City sits the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum. It may look like it’s ready to open for business, but that’s not the case.
Over the past two decades, a lot of time, money and effort has gone into this state owned project. $91 million came from state, federal, and other donations have already been invested. .
“There’s already a considerable amount of money already in the ground,” said Shoshana Wasserman, Director of Communications and Cultural Tourism for The American Indian Center. “It’s really time to finish the project so $80 million will finish the project.”
Some of that money will be coming from the state if Senate Bill 1651 makes it out of the house.
If approved, $40 million from the state’s unclaimed property fund would go to the project and that money would be matched with another $40 million from private donations.
“We want it to be successful and we want something we can all be proud of and display,” said Barry Switzer, former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys coach. “Get down the road and look back and say this is a wonderful jewel that we have.”
Strong supporters like Barry Switzer, who also sits on the Board of Directors and other big names in Oklahoma have helped to raise the $40 million, but Rep. Mike Reynolds doesn’t think the efforts will pay off in the end.
“I mean it is frustrating that we’re still dealing with the issue,” said Rep. Reynolds. “If people think it’s a money maker gosh there’s some business men that should step up and pay it. Not going to be a money maker, going to be a drain on Oklahoma.”
The bill will now have to go to a house committee, it could be up for a possible vote on the floor and that could happen as early as next week.