New community space celebrated at Tohono O’odham Nation

The Tohono O’odham Ki:Ki Association (TOKA) and the Tohono O’odham Nation celebrated a new 3,500-square-foot community center at a grand opening ceremony last month in Sells, AZ.

Travois Development Director Casey Cline and I attended the happy event and saw the beautiful building, which was constructed as part of TOKA’s first Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) project that also rehabilitated 40 homes. The TOKA staff, including two people who are pictured above: Executive Director Pete Delgado and LIHTC Specialist Stella Harvey, worked incredibly hard to make this day happen. We applaud their efforts!

The best part of working on development projects is meeting people who will use what we’ve all been working toward. Every community is unique, but all share a desire to create or rebuild a space for people to gather together.

Here is a short video of Mildred Manuel, chairwoman of the TOKA board of directors, speaking about how TOKA worked together and why they decided to undertake the project.

Many people in TOKA leadership talked about how far this community in particular has come. Before this project, it was a place that was avoided; Now, it is transformed into a place where community members gather intentionally for celebrations, learning and more.

One of my favorite parts about working at Travois is visiting these communities, hearing directly from their members and seeing their vision realized.

In addition to building or rehabilitation housing, Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects can also add important amenities for residents, using investor funds to pay for the majority of the project cost. Possibilities include remote offices, community rooms, playgrounds, laundry facilities and basketball courts. Read more on Mike Price’s blog about Community rooms and public use buildings.

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