$25,000,000.00 for OKC museum

The Oklahoma Senate gave final legislative approval to a plan to complete the over-budget American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City.

Tulsa area legislators who voted for borrowing $25,000,000.00 to finish a museum that would be donated to Oklahoma City include: Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso; Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa; Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa; Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa; Rep.  Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa; and Rep. Weldon  Watson, R-Tulsa.

The Tulsa area no votes included: Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow; Sen. Gary  Stanislawski, R-Tulsa; Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa; Rep. David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow; Rep. Katie  Henke, R-Tulsa; Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa; Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa; Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow; Rep. Chuck Strohm, R-Tulsa; and Rep. Ken Walker, R-Tulsa.

Sen. Bill Brown, R-Broken Arrow; and Sen. Dan  Newberry, R-Tulsa, were excused from the vote.

Meanwhile,  the House voted down on a proposal to build a popular culture museum in Tulsa.

The Oklahoma City Indian center bill was approved 27-17 in the Senate.

The bill authorizes borrowing $25 million through a bond issue to maybe finish the project along the Oklahoma River at the intersection of Interstate 35 and Interstate 40 in Oklahoma City. The exterior of the center is almost complete but it will take tens of millions of dollars to finish the interior. Private sources have pledged an additional $40,000,000.00 and Oklahoma City will put up $9,000,000.00 to try to get the museum finished.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, and Sen. Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, were authors of House Bill 2237. In the new plan, the state would strike a deal with the city to finish the project. The city would operate the museum and the state would give the city land around the museum.

Gov. Mary Fallin is expected to sign the bill.

“Despite the challenge this facility has posed to previous legislatures, it still has great potential to be a major destination for tourism, a center of learning, and an engine for economic development,” Bingman  said. “This is a thoughtful and responsible plan that gives us a chance to end state appropriations for ongoing costs, finish the facility, and remove it from our books.”

Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, led the charge to defeat the bond package plan but it fell short.