Construction of a Chickasaw Nation Visitor Center in Sulphur was approved in the Friday, Sept. 16 session of the Chickasaw Nation legislature.
The 7,700 square foot center will be constructed at the intersection of S.H. 7 and S. H. 177, directly across the street from the Artesian Hotel currently under construction and adjacent to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area entrance.
Location and design of the visitor center were chosen to serve a wide range of visitors to the area, said Gov. Anoatubby.
“This center will provide an excellent venue to encourage people to discover all the natural beauty, history and hospitality of this area,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “Our historical connection with the Sulphur area dates back more than 170 years, so we want to share that story with everyone. We also want to promote all the great attractions and events in this area.”
According to Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, the visitor center will complement the tribe’s efforts to promote tourism in the area.
“We believe our continuing investment in this area will benefit the state and local economy far into the future,” said Gov. Anoatubby.
Investments include the Artesian Hotel and the Chickasaw Cultural Center. More than 62,000 people have visited the Chickasaw Cultural Center since it opened in July 2010.
The Chickasaw Nation also has plans for a retail center, pocket park and casino in Sulphur.
Other projects planned for the area include a Bedre’ Chocolate factory and a Chickasaw welcome center, both located on Interstate 35 near exit 55.
More than 3 million people visit Murray County each year. Other attractions in the area include the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Turner Falls, Arbuckle Wilderness and Cross Bar Ranch all terrain vehicle trails. Constructed of native stone and glass, the design of the visitor center will resemble buildings at the near-by Chickasaw Cultural Center.
The visitor center will also provide information and tell the story of Chickasaw National Recreation Area, the only national park established at the request of a Native American tribe.
Expected completion date for the visitor center is 2013.