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Osage Nation awarded $55,000 for Tulsa airpark feasibility study

The Osage Nation is receiving a $55,000 tribal economic development feasibility study grant from the federal Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development Office to explore potential uses for the Nation-owned Tulsa airpark property.

Located in the Department of Interior, the IEED announced $947,000 in grants will be awarded to 20 federally recognized tribes and one Alaskan Native corporation on Aug. 2. These awards from the IEED’s Native American Business Development Institute Feasibility Study Program will enable tribal leaders to better evaluate and identify viable economic opportunities for their communities, according to a news release.

The Nation plans to use its $55,000 grant to study the feasibility of operating the Tulsa Airpark property, the announcement said. In 2008, the Nation purchased the 100-acre former airpark property along West 36th Street, which is eight minutes north of downtown Tulsa.

The airpark – located just inside the eastern Osage County line – is also part of the original allotment of Osage Chief Peter Bigheart.    

Candy Thomas, director for the Nation’s Strategic Planning and Self Governance Office, said the Nation is seeking a feasibility study on the property “to determine the best economic potential for the Airpark that will create both revenue and jobs for the Osage people.”

Currently, Osage Casinos management houses its Central Services Offices at the airpark, which is next to the Tulsa Osage Casino. The Gaming Enterprise Board office is also at the property with other unused buildings and aircraft hanger spacing.

Thomas said “the grant application will fund the retention of a consulting firm (yet to be procured) to provide accurate and sufficient data related to which, aviation or aviation-related industries are potentially viable and what regional and tribal economic benefits could be realized by the development of the Airpark. The study will help the Osage Nation to explore economic diversification and opportunities coupled with job creation for tribal members.”  

When performed by a reputable third party, an economic development feasibility study also can be used to help persuade lenders and investors to provide financial backing, the IEED release said.


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2016-09-16 00:00:00

Benny Polacca

Title: Senior Reporter


Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.


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