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Cultural Center Bond Issue Dead for Now (May 18, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - A $40 million bond issue that was supposed to help pay for construction of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City is dead for the current legislative session.

Senate Appropriations Chairman David Myers said he was asked to hold Senate Bill 980 from moving forward.

Myers also said he agreed to carry the legislation even though he has misgivings about the center.

“We probably should never have started that project in the first place,” Myers said. “I think it’s a hole that we’ve been pouring lots of money into. And with that said, since it is a hole we’ve been pouring money into, we probably need to keep from letting that decay and that money become a waste.”

A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said other funding options for the museum are being considered but wouldn't specify what those options might be.

And a spokesman for House Speaker Kris Steele said the House won't consider the bond proposal unless the Senate first approves it.

State Representative Seneca Scott, a member of the Choctaw Nation, said the legislature should make sure the construction continues.

“This has been a phased in funding process over the course of the last ten-plus years, and we’re just kind of hitting the final stages of that,” Scott said. “We need to fulfill our commitments to what we started.”

The $40-million bond proposal was supposed to help complete work on the 177-and-a-half million dollar project along the Oklahoma River near I-40 and I-35.

by Kurt Gwartney

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