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Osage Nation awarded HUD grant for new Hominy Wellness Center


Benny Polacca

The Osage Nation is receiving an $800,000 federal grant to build a new Hominy Wellness Center, which would replace the current fitness center in the Industrial Park.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the $800,000 award to the Nation with the funding coming from the Indian Community Development Block Grant program, which supports a wide range of community development and affordable housing activities, according to a news release.

Wayne Sims, administrator for HUD’s Southern Plains Office of Native American Programs, reported the grant award during the Feb. 18 groundbreaking ceremony for the Nation’s Sky Lodge Estates housing project in Skiatook. The Skiatook project construction is also being funded with HUD grant funds.

The Nation pursued the HUD grant money after the Fourth ON Congress passed a $250,000 appropriation bill (ONCA 15-35 sponsored by William “Kugee” Supernaw) during the 2015 Huh-Kah Session, which approves matching grant funds for project costs to study, design and build the wellness center. The matching grant funds in this bill are contingent upon receipt of the ICDBG funding.

Supernaw said Hominy residents, including Harry Roy Red Eagle, contacted him asking for a new fitness center because the current facility is too small for the exercise workout equipment. The Third ON Congress tabled a 2013 bill sponsored by Supernaw seeking to relocate the Hominy fitness center due to budget constraints at the time. After the bill was tabled, Supernaw said the Congress requested that the Executive Branch pursue grant funds for the facility.

The ON Office of Self-Governance, Planning and Grants Management worked to pursue the ICDBG funding, which was last awarded to the Nation in 2005, according to a news release.

“This is more than a fitness center,” Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said in the release. “All of our health programs, including those involved in diabetes prevention, will be involved. I would like for the community to keep working with us to keep expanding and upgrading the Wellness Center. I would like to see us consider adding an exercise pool in the future.”

Also on Feb. 18, Sims announced the Nation was also awarded a HUD Indian Housing Block Grant of $1.4 million.

IHBG funds benefit low-income families living on Indian reservations or in other American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The amount of each grant is based on a formula that considers local needs and housing units under management by the tribe or designated entity, according to HUD.

Original Publish Date: 2016-03-02 00:00:00


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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.

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