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2014 TZI-ZHO SESSION DAY 20

Consideration of appropriation and 2015 fiscal year budgets will continue this week as the Fourth Osage Nation Congress winds down its first Tzi-Zho Session.

During the Sept. 24 session, Congressman Ron Shaw proposed a reduction to the $2.5 million Pawhuska dance arbor bill (ONCA 14-56) from that amount to $2.25 million and that amendment will be considered during the Sept. 25 session.

The Congressional Cultural Committee initially considered ONCA 14-56 during its Sept. 22 meeting and passed the bill onto the Congress with a “do pass” recommendation.

According to the preliminary plans presented to the Congressional cultural committee, the requested $2.5 million appropriation would cover $559,000 for site work including sidewalks, parking lot paving, storm sewer and inlets and relocation of existing utilities. The metal arbor – along with bleacher and bench seating and power/ sound system – is estimated to cost $1.7 million. The plans also include a new building for restrooms and a concession stand estimated to cost $222,600.

The proposed arbor is square in size and will measure a total of 36,100 square-feet, according to Whit Todd, the Tulsa-based architect hired to work on the project with the ON Tribal Development and Land Acquisition Department, the Pawhuska Five-Man Board and its arbor committee, which all offered feedback on the development of the plans.

The current Pawhuska arbor, built in the early 1960s, according to arbor committee member Eddy Red Eagle Jr., measures 18,200 square-feet. He also said the current arbor was constructed out of old donated oilfield equipment and pipes.

Todd said the size of the arbor allows adjustment to accommodate seating for dancers and family benches.

Bruce Cass, the TDLA director, said the proposed arbor will cover the 160-plus family benches at the current arbor and said the larger size would also follow Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.

With the larger arbor size, the plans call for removing a block of the street, which runs east-west on the north side of the current arbor. Under the arbor, the dance area will be circular in pattern with a dancer bench seating area that would accommodate up to three rows of benches.

Todd said the final plans are 2-3 weeks away from completion and to be sent out for construction bids.

The Congress will consider Shaw’s reduction amendment during the Sept. 24 session that starts at 10 a.m.

Also during the Sept. 24 session, the Congress passed the $4 million bill to replenish the higher education scholarship fund. Congresswoman Shannon Edwards, who opposed earlier cuts to the bill, said she would introduce legislation at a later date to increase the fund by $3 million.

In other budget news, the Congress is also slated to vote on the budgets for the burial assistance fund (ONCA 14-68 at $370,000); $100,000 for the capital asset and improvement fund (ONCA 14-69); The Nation’s cultural preservation/ arts/ language division budget (ONCA 14-71 at $2.8 million); ONCA 14-74 is the appropriation bill to pay $1,250,000 toward the campus master plan loan; ONCA 14-75 is the governmental operations division budget at $21 million; and ONCA 14-77 is the land/ commerce/ public safety division budget at $9.4 million.