A total of 24 families are enjoying completely renovated homes following a $6 million residential revitalization program at the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indian Reservation.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the completion of the project Thursday, with residents, contractors and Bad River Housing Authority staffers turning out to celebrate the event.
“It is a huge boost to all of us,” said Cheryl Cloud, Executive Director of the Bad River Housing Authority. “Everybody worked very hard at their parts of it to make it come together. It’s no small task for tenants to have to move. That is traumatic in and of itself. There was a great deal of blood sweat and tears that was put into it to make it come together.”
According to Assistant Housing Authority Director Deb Morrissey, the project was made possible through the awarding of federal tax credits that were sold to investors and the proceeds used to fund the project.
Travois Design and Construction Company of Kansas City, Mo., assisted Bad River in applying for the federal tax credits. They also aided with design and architectural services and will follow through with asset management services through a 15-year compliance period.
Morrissey said the tax credits were crucial to the project.
“We could not have afforded to do the project without them,” she said.
Morrissey said because of the age of the units, a revitalization project was badly needed.
“Inside and out, we got a lot of work done,” she said.
Much of the work done on the project involved local subcontractors, including Jolma Electric, Blakeman Plumbing and Heating, Loren La Pointe Drywall, Angelo Lupino, Sipsas Excavating and Trucking and Wes Nasi Construction. The Commonwealth Companies of Fond Du Lac served as the general contractor.
Morrissey said the project was a significant boost to the quality of the housing available at Bad River.
“It means we can have more pried in the housing that tribal members live in,” she said. “It means more longevity for the homes.”
The renovations included major improvements such as construction of garages for some units, improvements in handicapped accessibility and improvements in energy efficiency in appliances and windows.
“That translates into lower energy bills for tenants,” she said.
Cloud said the improvements represented a huge investment in the community.
“It’s not just getting this housing to a safe and sanitary level, but really increasing the quality of life for everybody in the community,” she said. “It helps us look to the future. We are looking at new housing. The tenants who take residence in them can count on the structures themselves, there is less maintenance cost for the staff.”