Oklahoma City approves agreement for stalled Indian museum

The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum. (KOKH/FILE)

For years the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum has sat unfinished, but that could soon change.

As thousands of cars pass by Interstate 40 the towering structure is hard to miss, but when you take a closer look you can see a museum in limbo.

For years, the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum project has been stalled. It costs $60,000 a month just to maintain the unfinished building.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council approve a plan passed by the legislature to move forward with a $25 million bond. Oklahoma City will put in $9 million and the Chickasaw Nation and private donors are also funding money to move the plan ahead.

But the plan was no guarantee. Mayor Mick Cornett says Oklahoma City was ready to turn down the deal until the Chickasaw Nation stepped in.

"There's still a few steps to go. Fortunately they're willing to come in and take some of the risk and that was what concerned us most. We're not in the museum business," Cornett said.

The plan puts them closer to the $80 they'll need to finish. A hefty price tag but CEO Blake Wade hopes once it opens people will come in.

"This is the crossroads of America...When we start capturing these people coming in, business will be booming," Wade said.

Museum leaders say they're expecting construction to start up again in the summer. The goal is to open the museum by 2020.

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