The Pueblo of Acoma Housing Authority (PAHA) reached a major milestone this month — the ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new 30-unit development! PAHA celebrated this achievement with a well-attended event, complete with a blessing, speakers, a traditional feast and dancers.
When this development began, as the story goes, PAHA Executive Director Floyd Tortalita had a vision. This development was intended to reflect the Pueblo of Acoma’s original dwellings built over 1,000 years ago. Clearly, building conventions have changed since Sky City was built, and so we approached the design as a modern translation of the original multifamily community atop the mesa.
It was very rewarding to hear the community response: the general consensus was that the original vision had translated loud and clear. Standing in the central outdoor gathering area surrounded by stucco, it felt like a pueblo.
The development is beautiful and blends perfectly into the hill all the way down to the color of the earth. The ribbon-cutting felt like the beginning of a new community where families and children and future generations will come together and continue weaving the fabric of their people.
The community and development partners reflect on journey
A number of entities that contributed to the funding, consulting and construction helped make PAHA’s vision a reality. Some of those in attendance included representatives for the Pueblo of Acoma tribal government, New Mexico Senate, New Mexico Mortgage Finance Association (MFA), Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, American Express and Pavilion Construction.
In addition to these development partners, a number of neighboring pueblos and community members came to see the new homes, including a large group of students from the Sky City School who took a field trip from just up the road.
Each of the contributing entities had an opportunity to speak and to add to the development story. Several speakers from the Pueblo of Acoma provided the backdrop. They talked about the pueblo, their goals for the community and their people.
It was great to hear such strong support from the New Mexico state representatives and MFA, who managed the award of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), and Raymond James Tax Credit Funds and American Express, who contributed investor equity.
Travois founders David Bland and Marianne Roos joined Crystal Banks-Mann and me (pictured above) to celebrate the day. David reminisced on early conversations he had with Floyd and the PAHA team, which started the ball rolling. Pavilion Construction also thanked the team. They provided the construction services that brought the project into reality.
The ceremony featured a great display of how many people go into the production team, and this development was fortunate to have a rock-star team!
On the long road from project conception to completion, it often easy to lose sight of the goal. However, when completion is reached, it affirms why the often-difficult journey was necessary in the first place.
New homes for families, brighter futures for children
This development has brought new homes to the Pueblo of Acoma for families to have safe and affordable housing. Floyd, and several other Pueblo of Acoma tribal members, pointed out that children are able to perform better at school and extracurricular activities when they have stable housing. Meeting those basic needs has a ripple effect for many people in their community.
This progressive understanding is deeply rooted in tradition at the Pueblo of Acoma and was impressive to witness. The leadership and the people were inspiring and spoke to the students as the future of their community. They have big goals and big plans, and this project is just one step for the pueblo. PAHA and everyone who gathered is excited for what the future holds.
Oh, and of course PAHA could not send us home hungry. Floyd and the whole team passed out gift bags full of sweet treats. If you haven’t had a prune tart, you are missing out!
BIG congratulations to the Pueblo of Acoma Housing Authority for this achievement!
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