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Troubled American Indian Cultural Center in Oklahoma City Needs to Raise Millions in Weeks

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The Tulsa World is reporting on the troubled, half-built American Indian Cultural Center in Oklahoma City, which has but a few weeks to raise anywhere between $15 and $20 million to keep the facility on track.

The American Indian Cultural Center is supposed to open in December of 2014, but without the necessary funding, it would cost the state $700,000 a year to mothball the project. The total completion plan calls for some $80 million (which includes $30 million for exhibits and collections), with a location near the intersection of Interstates 35 and 40.

"We're trying to put together enough money to keep on going for another year," Blake Wade, CEO of the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority, told the World. "I do believe where there's a will, there's a way."

The World reports that Wade is trying to raise $10 million in private donations and another $10 million in "municipal, tribal and state money to keep the project on track." He has been resisting efforts to lowering the price tag because he wants the facility to be world-class.

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Wade tried to lobby the Oklahoma legislature this year to match the $40 million in pledges from Oklahoma City, Indian tribes and private donors with a $40 million bond issue. He was not successful by a single vote.

"The project has benefited from three previous state bond issues totaling $63 million, as well as $14.5 million in federal funding and $4.9 million and 250 acres of land from Oklahoma City," theWorld reports. "The fourth bond issue proposal fell one vote short in the state Senate in the Legislature's final week."

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