May 21, 2014

At long last, a place to live


By Jerry W. Kram

Even before the Bakken Boom, there were not enough places to live in New Town. Monday, the North Segment Development Corporation took the first of what may be many steps this summer to make affordable housing available in New Town.

North Segment Representative Ken Hall, NSDC President Elgin Crows Breast and NSDC Secretary Tom Hale were among those who helped shovel the first clods of dirt to begin construction on the Wooded Bowl Estates apartment building.

The 20 unit, two story building will be built just northeast of the Northern Lights Building. It will house 10 one-room apartments, six two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom apartments. Crows Breast said the building is named for a leader who brought the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara together to defend themselves against attacks from the Sioux tribes in the 19th Century.

"After that time, our peoples were always together," Crows Breast said.

The building of the apartment building is the work of the North Segment Development Corporation, which was reinstituted about a year ago. The corporation has received funding from the MHA Tribal Business Council for housing and economic development in the North Segment of the Fort Berthold Reservation.

"We have been involved in everything from the financing to every little detail of this project," said Hale. "We had to figure out what we could do with the money we had, what space we could use, everything. It’s been very educational for me. I’ve never been involved in developing an apartment building before. It was fun, but there were a lot of heartaches and headaches, but at the end of the day we going to see something built here."

Hale said this apartment complex would provide low income housing for tribal members, but as more housing is developed in the community he was open to the idea the the NSDC would build housing that would be open to all New Town residents.

"We are working on trying to help everybody," Hale said. "We have a quota we have to meet. But after we meet that quota we will be able to keep building for the rest of New Town. But at the same time, we know we have emergency needs that have to be met."

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