The Journal Record
By Brian Brus
OKLAHOMA CITY – City Council members unanimously approved a joint resolution with the Chickasaw Nation on Tuesday to complete and operate the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near downtown.
Municipal counselor Wiley Williams said the text of the resolution was still being edited over the weekend, as officials navigated between such nuanced terms as “commit” versus “agree” and “request” versus “understand.” The only dollar figures noted in the final language were that the tribe will underwrite capital costs related to completing the center in excess of $65 million, and it will provide up to $2 million annually to cover operational deficits for up to seven years.
Mayor Mick Cornett stressed the resolution is merely a formal confirmation of intent to fulfill the requirements of last year’s House Bill 2237 and that many more details must now be nailed down for work to begin. Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 2237 into law last year, giving the city authority to make something of the half-finished shell of a tourist attraction. City Hall hired consultants to research the city’s options, however, and found costs weren’t feasible.
In what seemed like a last-minute rescue in December, the tribe offered to help. Councilman Pete White said Tuesday that without the Chickasaws’ intervention, he was ready to write off the project.