WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Native American tribes in California received a big boost to the future of the Indian Heritage Center plans last week from Governor Brown.
Inside Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget is $100 million for a new cultural center to be built. It’s a project that was discussed more than a decade ago.
“It’s as good a use for the riverfront as we could ask for,” said Chris Ledesma, West Sacramento Mayor Pro Tem.
“We’ll have to go back and dust off the old plans and see OK where were we and pick back up and go,” said Ledesma with a smile.
He recalls discussions years ago about a new Indian Heritage Center.
“There will be a welcoming center,” pointed Ledesma while showing CBS13 around the proposed West Sacramento site. “It’s mostly going to be trails and walkways that people can explore.”
The project was put on hold after the economic downturn in 2008. The money wasn’t available, until now.
“It’s historic,” said Lisa Mangat, the director of California State Parks.
The governor’s budget sets aside $100 million for a new Indian Culture Center. Another $100 million would need to be raised through donations and state and tribal fundraising efforts.
Mangat says the planning and development of the public center will be a partnership with the tribal communities.
“It’s going to be a place to gather and celebrate the cultures,” said Mangat.
A roughly 4,500-square-foot building on the grounds of Sutter’s Fort is the state’s recognition of Native American History.
“We haven’t as a state always celebrated the rich contributions of these peoples,” said Mangat.
The entire state museum consists of a handful of exhibits in a building near Sutter’s Fort.
“We need to do a better job of recognizing and celebrating the contributions of these communities and to really go big and go bold,” said Mangat.
But the large money amount raises some concerns.
“It was unclear exactly how the dollar amount was determined and if that was the right amount that we should be thinking of,” said Ashley Ames with the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
She says they were provided few details on the project.
“We really don’t know exactly how much we would end up spending on them,” said Ames.
The legislative budget hearing happens on Wednesday. Elected leaders will decide how to proceed with the governor’s recommendation of $100 million for the new center.