Organizers expect the center to generate $3.8 billion in economic impact over the next 20 years. Local and state tax revenue projections top $325 million over the same period.
“We’re not just talking about a statewide attraction. This is more regional and worldwide,” Haney said, extolling the economic benefits of the center. “It’s a good investment. This is the only project that money will be appropriated for that will generate a return.”
Cultural center staff member Stacy Halfmoon thinks the possibilities for the facility are endless. Cooperative agreements with other state museums and the Smithsonian Institution will provide a breadth of experience.
They plan to borrow about 150 objects — many of which originated in Oklahoma — from the Smithsonian for an opening exhibit. Walls with 100,000 stones will represent those Native Americans relocated here.
She envisions festivals and celebrations on the site which will eventually include a retail center, landscaped park and trails, a courtyard of nations, welcome center, three galleries, children’s discovery center, cafe and research center.
But it’s hard to schedule and plan with a half-finished building.
“We’re doing OK but we would definitely prefer to be up and running and open,” she said. “It all hinges on that funding. If we could just get the funding and move forward, it will all come together.”