American Indian Cultural Center and Museum Suspends Construction

According to an AP report, the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, currently being built in downtown Oklahoma City, will halt construction on July 1 due to financial difficulties.

“We’re not quitting,” said Executive Director Blake Wade, according to the AP. “We’re dedicated to getting that job done.”

Dedication, though, isn’t the issue — the problem is that the Oklahoma Legislature declined to issue a $40 million bond last month that would be necessary for the museum’s completion.

The final construction cost is estimated to be $171 million; to date, $91 million has been sunk into the project, with $64.3 million of that having come from state coffers.

The $80 million necessary to complete the job was dependent upon the $40 million bond funding and a matching amount from private investors and organizations, including Tribal groups. Although museum supporters fear that the rejection of the bond issue would cause backers to pull out, they have pledged to maintain the matching funds for the a reasonable period of time.

Meanwhile, the site will continue to be maintained, and no staff will be laid off, according to Tulsa World. The planned completion date was December 2014, and the Tulsa World story says that Wade hopes to stick to that deadline.

Advocates of the center maintain that it will generate $3.8 billion over the next 20 years. But opponents complain of poor management and expense. The state is already paying $5.5 million annually to finance the previous bond funding; had the additional $40 million been approved that tab would have risen to $9 million annually.


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American Indian Cultural Center and Museum Suspends Construction