Native American
1:51 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Senate Committee Advances Plan To Fund Unfinished Oklahoma Museum

Credit American Indian Cultural Center and Museum

A plan to tap $40 million from the state's Unclaimed Property Fund to fund the completion of a Native American museum in Oklahoma City has cleared a Senate panel.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21-3 Wednesday morning for the bill to finish the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum along the banks of the Oklahoma River.

State Senator Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) says the Unclaimed Property funds would be used to match $40 million in private donations that have been pledged to complete the project.

"They've taken out ads, they've taken commercials, they've done everything the state knows to do to get this money back to individuals,” Loveless told KGOU. “And it's been ten years, so therefore it becomes available to the Legislature to use for one-time expenditures."

Seven years after the start of construction, the sprawling $170 million dollar museum at the crossroads of Interstates 35 and 40 remains unfinished, but the Legislature has balked in recent years at appropriating more money. Oklahoma's Unclaimed Property Fund currently has about 90 million dollars. KGOU plans to air Susan Shannon’s longer interview with Sen. Loveless Saturday during Indian Times.

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