In Oklahoma, we are not quitters, and just because it’s taken a long time doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to come to fruition.
Many obstacles have been thrown at it since it started as a state agency. That’s right, folks: It’s a state agency.
But it has been tossed around in the political-football arena quite a bit over the last decade. To complete this project, it was going to take federal funds, state funds, city funds and a lot of private donations.
As we all know, over the last decade, we’ve had cutbacks on federal bonds, a recession, several political changes in key positions and movement in the private-donation sector.
Even with all this, we can still make this happen by matching the $40 million of private donations with $40 million from the state of Oklahoma.
The estimated return is $325 million in the short term, economic growth in southeast Oklahoma City and a worldwide destination point for visitors from other countries.
We sometimes forget that just barely over 100 years ago, this was Indian Territory. All of the tribes have donated money and pledged collections for special showings, as some have never before been seen in public.
A Smithsonian-comparable museum and event center to honor our state and nation’s Indian heritage, combined with the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Sam Noble Museum of Natural History — as well as the 45th Infantry Museum, National Softball Hall of Fame and Oklahoma State Firefighters’ Museum — will make Oklahoma a destination not matched by anyone.
We aren’t quitters. Let’s take this political football, take the private donations, cross the goal line and win this thing. The benefits will be enjoyed by our kids and grandchildren. The state auditor gave it a clear audit.
Tourism is our third-largest economic sector, and the legislative session ends this month. Contact your state senators and representatives and urge them to find a way to do this project.
Now is the time to show vision, leadership and tenacity — because Oklahomans aren’t quitters.
—Glen Cosper, Oklahoma City