Nearly 10 years ago, the idea for a center to highlight our state's rich Native American history came to life and the plans for the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum (AICCM) were set into motion. Today, we have taken what was once a blighted lot and have made significant steps toward creating another signature piece in Oklahoma City's renaissance.
This facility will be an incredible asset for our own citizens as well as a major attraction for people from around the world.
There's a major problem, however. The AICCM sits unfinished, in a state of limbo. Construction halted on the project earlier this year and cannot continue until it receives more funding.
Last month, the Oklahoma City Council unanimously approved a $9 million pledge to support the completion of the AICCM. This, combined with the city's donation of the land, brings their contribution to more than $12 million. However, this pledge hinges on the state providing $40 million for the completion of the project. Our City Council members have shown tremendous vision and support for this project. I know you will all join me in thanking them for their dedication.
Many people have invested millions of dollars in this project – state and local governments, Native American tribes, private companies and organizations and others. Now is the time for us to finish what we started. By adding to our previous investments, we will create an unparalleled facility that will not only represent the heritage of our state and region, but will also help our city continue its forward momentum. It is imperative that the state of Oklahoma – the legislature, local businesses, our Native American tribes and our citizens – do all that we can to ensure the completion of this facility. This is an opportunity we cannot afford to waste.