A $43 million dollar bond package that would have attracted another $45 million in private donations to complete the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum being built in Oklahoma City failed to receive floor votes on the final day of the 2010 legislative session. State Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, said as a result, construction on the incomplete facility will be forced to a standstill.
“Right now there are enough funds to keep moving forward for a few more months, then everything shuts down,” Coates said, noting that when construction completely stops depends on how remaining funds are allocated. “This center is poised to make Oklahoma a national and international destination with enormous economic benefits for our state. I’m shocked and extremely disappointed that legislative leaders failed to make sure this came to a vote.”
The Conference Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 1497 authorized a total of $43 million in bonds, contingent upon the collection of $45 million in private funding. The measure was not signed out by House members of the Conference Committee until late Friday afternoon, and then was not heard in the Senate.
Coates said the bond package was a critical component of the financing necessary to complete the $170 million world-class facility. The completion goal for the complex, which would cover 250 acres and include 125,000 square feet of building space, was 2014. When complete, the twenty-year economic impact projection was that the center would generate $3.8 billion.
“Delaying completion delays the economic benefits for Oklahoma and likely drives up the final costs. At the very least, this was terribly short-sighted. It seriously undermines one of the most significant projects we have going in our state,” Coates said.