The Journal Record
By Brian Brus
OKLAHOMA CITY – City Council members agreed to accept title of the incomplete American Indian Cultural Center and Museum on Tuesday.
The council’s plan includes several contingency clauses to protect the city’s interests as municipal officials continue to negotiate with the Chickasaw Nation for funding, management and related development near the center, Finance Director Craig Freeman said. In short, the state has offered a deal to the city involving real estate and tourism, and the city is still working on a partnership with the tribe to ensure it works out.
“It is just a complicated arrangement when you take a city, a state and a sovereign nation and think you’re going to easily put together an agreement,” Mayor Mick Cornett said. “I think there’s been great cooperation at all levels.”
The council’s action narrowly beat a March 15 extended deadline to accept the state’s offer of limited financial support on the project via House Bill 2237 last year. Oklahoma lawmakers began work on the tribal heritage tourist attraction just east of the Interstate 35 and I-40 junction more than 20 years ago, but the concept stagnated as elections changed the face of the Legislature.