Housing project breaks ground near Nespelem


Members and former members of the Colville Business Council, Colville Indian Housing Authority representatives, Bearclaw Construction, and others involved with the project break ground Monday on the nine new triplexes to be built in Nespelem. - Jacob Wagner photo

The Colville Confederated Tribes held a groundbreaking ceremony in Nespelem on Monday for their nine new triplex housing units that are anticipated to be fully constructed in December.

Between seven and eight million dollars is going toward building the triplexes, an outdoor basketball court at the location, and toward the renovations of 31 HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) houses located in Keller and Inchelium.

Douglas Marconi Sr., executive director of the Colville Indian Housing Authority, explained that some of the money came from HUD, some from tax credit from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, plus some loans.

"There are a lot of happy families that are encouraged to see the upgrades to their existing units, and the nine new units are a welcome addition," Marconi said. "You have generations now living with parents and grandparents who are ready to move into their own housing. That will always be a need."

The project had been in development for about two years while funding was worked out and construction bids were taken.

Bearclaw Construction, out of Kansas City, Missouri, is undertaking the project, and the local construction crew includes 64 percent native American employment.

Colville Business Council members attended the groundbreaking ceremony that included opening prayers and songs.

"I think this is going to be a great project," remarked Councilmember Sheila Cleveland.

"Can you imagine living in this weather without a home?" said Councilmember Rodney Cawston.

Marconi also said that homelessness is an issue on the reservation, including among homeless veterans, and the housing authority could easily use funding for 500 apartments to meet the need.

The triplexes, located on Convalescent Center Boulevard in Nespelem, will provide housing for up to nine families to live in.

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