Taylor Higgins and I had the pleasure of attending the Pueblo of Acoma Housing Authority (PAHA) groundbreaking ceremony for its first Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) project.
PAHA LIHTC Homes #1 was awarded tax credits in May 2016 and is in the process of closing with an equity investor. After construction is completed, the project will consist of 30 new units in three multifamily buildings: two buildings will contain 12 units, and one will contain six units. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018.
Floyd Tortalita, executive director of PAHA, and his staff organized the event. A wonderful ceremony prior to the groundbreaking featured speakers from PAHA, Pavilion Construction (the general contractor), as well as Acoma tribal council members.
The event was truly unique due to the incredible support it received from other nearby tribal housing authorities. Several New Mexico tribal housing authorities attended, as did the Hopi Tribal Housing Authority from Arizona. Everyone in attendance was proud and supportive of the project.
Taylor and I were honored to speak on behalf of Travois and about our role in the project. We also happily presented a commissioned watercolor painting to Floyd Tortalita. It is a beautiful preview of the completed project, based on our architects’ designs and renderings.
After the earlier ceremony was concluded, we ventured to the actual project site for the groundbreaking. Taylor and I were even able to hold the golden shovels and broke ground! We also walked away with some pretty great souvenirs — PAHA hard hats.
After the groundbreaking ceremony, PAHA hosted a wonderful lunch. Once again it was amazing to see the community support and the number of people who attended lunch in honor of the project.
Overall, the groundbreaking ceremony was a rousing success. We were able to meet and talk with a number of Acoma and local tribal leaders. It was clear to all in attendance the pride that PAHA has for the project and how much they will use this success to continue moving forward.
Taylor and I were also treated to a very special opportunity to tour Sky City after the groundbreaking ceremony. Sky City is usually closed to tourists during the winter, but PAHA had arranged a special tour for us. It was amazing to see the family homes and learn about the incredible history of the area. For me, it was also just a neat experience to see the historic inspiration for the PAHA LIHTC Homes #1 design.
PAHA is wonderful organization to work with, and I walked away extremely proud of the opportunity to work with them on this project.