By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The new Birdtown HIP Housing Development got underway as a groundbreaking was held at the site on Monday, Aug. 22. The five-house development, for handicapped and elderly EBCI tribal members, is being constructed by the Cherokee Boys Club Construction and Facilities Department. The project will tentatively take 16 months to complete.
“This will be the second HIP project that the Tribe has funded,” said Tommy Lambert, Cherokee Boys Club general manager. “We appreciate the funding that was put forth through the Housing Division for this project.”
“The Boys Club is proud to be the ones to construct these houses for the handicapped and elders, and we appreciate the opportunity that we’ve been given over the years to do these HIP houses.”
The first HIP project of the Tribe was constructed in the Wolfetown Community. HIP projects are in the works for the Big Cove and Yellowhill Communities.
“We just appreciate the Boys Club coming and doing this work for us here,” said Chairman Jim Owle. “I appreciate Council and the Tribe for purchasing this property. We didn’t really know what we were going to do here with this property, but I think the HIP project is the best project we can do.”
Principal Chief Michell Hicks commented, “I’ve done a lot of home visits over the years, especially recently, and there’s a lot of appreciative elders and disabled folks out there.”
“It’s amazing how fast we can move if we set our minds to it, and this shows you how quickly we can get things done if we get everybody on the same page. I’m pleased with where we’re at and where we’re going.”
Vice Chief Larry Blythe said that housing has been a priority of the administration. “We’re working hard to try to secure that future, and everybody’s entitled to decent, affordable housing.”
He said the Birdtown HIP project is one good step towards meeting the housing needs of the Tribe. “We’re blessed, as a Tribe, with the things that we’re able to provide. It just feels good when we can do a project like this and impact people’s lives. There’s a lot of hard work ahead of us to do, but I know we can do it if we all just work together.”
Birdtown Rep. Tunney Crowe commented, “This is a good project to be here for Birdtown. It’s going to help out the handicapped and the elderly folks. It’s going to be run the same as the one in Long Branch, and we’re excited to have one in Birdtown.”