DALLAS — The sponsor of a proposed popular culture museum in Tulsa, Okla., said Monday the 2013 Legislature will be asked to authorize $42.5 million of state bonds to build the facility.
Proceeds of the bonds, which would be issued by the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority, would finance construction of the 75,000-square-foot Oklahoma Museum of Music and Popular Culture.
The facility known as OK Pop would be built in the Brady District of downtown Tulsa, along with a four-story, $10 million parking garage, said Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma History Center.
OK Pop could open in late 2016 if the bond issue is approved by the 2013 Legislature, he said.
Debt service on $40 million of state bonds issued in 1999 to build the Oklahoma Historical Center in Oklahoma City could be dedicated to the OK Pop bonds once the existing debt matures in 2019, Blackburn said.
The outstanding bonds are supported by annual appropriations by the Legislature of $2.5 million a year, he said. Estimated debt service on the proposed bonds is $2.2 million.
"All we need is a vehicle to sell the bond issue to get the cash to front-load the project and the money in our base will pay off that bond issue," Blackburn said.
In Monday's media tour of the artifacts now stored away at the Oklahoma City museum that could be displayed in the Tulsa facility, Blackburn said the proposed financial plan would not add to total state appropriations-backed debt.
"We are just asking for a bond issue to serve as a vehicle to allow us to expand our ability to collect, preserve, and share history," he said.
OK Pop would include exhibitions that highlight Oklahoma's contributions to literature, music, movies, art, and television, Blackburn said.
Among the items displayed by Blackburn during the media tour included the first color camera used by an Oklahoma television station in 1954, and a bison-hide Kiowa war tepee that was stored for more than 80 years after its acquisition in 1928.
"This is not a music hall of fame," he said. "It's not just about music, but about Oklahoma history, and Oklahoma's people and how they have influenced popular culture."
There is a gap of three years between the first payments due on the proposed OK Pop bonds and the final maturity of the existing debt used to build the Oklahoma City museum, Blackburn said.
The $6.6 million of debt service over that period would come in private donations and a $3 million pledge from the city of Tulsa, he said.
Revenue from the museum and the accompanying parking garage should be sufficient to provide the necessary $2.1 million a year in operating funds, Blackburn said.
"We have a conservative business plan to generate that," he said.
A one-block parking lot has been donated to the museum effort by the Bank of Oklahoma with the stipulation that a 650-space parking garage be built on the site. The bank permanently reserved 300 spaces during business hours.
The 2013 Legislature is expected also to get requests for state bonds to repair the State Capitol and complete an American Indian museum and cultural center in Oklahoma.