Centennial Planners Seek $16M In Additional Funding

Sunday, February 18th 2007, 2:04 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- State officials planning Oklahoma's 100th birthday want $16 million more from the Oklahoma Legislature to help pull off the state's centennial celebration.

The Oklahoma Capitol Complex and Centennial Commemoration Commission are seeking the supplemental appropriation, and chances are "50-50 right now" that lawmakers will approve the request, said J. Blake Wade, executive director of the commission.

"If it is zero, we're going to continue on with what moneys we have. And we'll do the best job we can to do the centennial. We're hoping (legislators) see we've done a good job and we need to complete our requests," Wade said. "This has got to be carefully talked about. We're competing against corrections, highway money and education. You don't ever want to step on any toes. You just lay your best shot out about why the centennial should get money."

Wade said the group is matching state dollars with private funds, and hopes that each community in Oklahoma can have a centennial project.

There are more than 300 centennial-sponsored projects statewide, and about half receive money from the commission, said Jeanie McCain Edney, deputy director of the commission.

Private money primarily paid for Oklahoma's floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Rose Bowl Parade and the All Star Centennial Band.

Last year, the Centennial Commission received $17 million in state funds to complete projects, but that was half what Wade had been seeking.

Projects in Oklahoma City and Tulsa each received $4 million, and the other money was used on projects outside those cities. That amount pales in comparison to the more than $40 million in private funds raised since the commission was created by the Legislature in 1996, officials said.