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Indian center task force picks site on American River

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  • Indian center task force picks site on American River

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    Indian center task force picks site on American River
    A location on the American River north of Sacramento has been chosen as the future home of a major California Indian Heritage Center.

    A task force organizing the proposed museum and meeting center voted 7-1 in a secret ballot Tuesday to choose a 200-acre site just north of downtown Sacramento near Northgate Boulevard and the Garden Highway. Tentative plans call for a large exhibit building and extensive outdoor meeting areas along the river.

    The decision means backers can begin their master planning to decide what goes where on the site. The planning is expected to begin in October and take a year to determine how the land will be used, what kind of public access will be needed, and how to deal with flooding.

    The location sits in a flood zone inside the American River levees.

    "Up to now, we have been looking for a location. Now we have it. Now we have a project," said Walter Gray, chief of cultural resources for the state's Department of Parks and Recreation.

    Gray helped organize the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento, one of the area's top tourism draws. The heritage center is also expected to attract tourists to the area.

    So far, the Indian Heritage Center is planned as a public private partnership. It would include collections of Native American California artifacts, current Indian art, a library, extensive indoor conference and meeting areas, and outdoor festival areas.

    Tentative plans call for a 60,000-square foot building and a total price tag for the site of perhaps $100 million to $130 million.

    California was home to many diverse native cultures that thrived in nearly every region before Spanish conquest and then the Gold Rush nearly wiped them out.

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