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Stimulus money helps Coeur d’Alene

PLUMMER, Idaho – Money provided by President Obama’s stimulus plan has allowed the Coeur d’Alene Tribe to begin work on several projects, and other grants have also been approved although money has not yet been received.

Grants already received or approved total roughly $5 million and the potential with other grants still to be submitted is for $10 million to $12 million according to Marc Stewart, the tribe’s public relations director.

“The tribe is very excited about the Obama administration for having something for tribes,” said Tribal Chairman Chief Allan. “It’s going to help us. For the last decade funding has been very tight, either with Indian health or BIA, so some of the money we have gotten is really going to help. For example, we’re going to upgrade some of our clinics, get some more supplies and some things we haven’t been able to do in the past because there was a ceiling, a cap. So that’s been great.”

Stimulus grants work in a similar way to the traditional grant process through existing government agencies. For instance, housing grants would be distributed through HUD. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has been awarded roughly $482,000 via HUD which will go toward one of several shovel-ready housing projects. Another grant request for additional housing funds has recently been submitted.

Stewart said more than $2 million in grant money has been received for public works. “There are three City Link (bus line) grants. City Link will receive four new vehicles, maintenance for those vehicles, and a bus maintenance facility. I think there would also be money for a transit center.” The tribe received $900,000 to rebuild Agency Road on the reservation.

“We’re excited about some roads money we’ve received,” Allan said. “We’re going to repave some roads that we’ve been wanting to get paved for 20 years or so. There’s never been any extra money around to do projects like these.”

Health care is always a big issue and several grants have been requested. “We just heard the tribe is going to receive $469,000 for things like medical equipment, a pharmaceutical machine, dental items, a backup generator for the dental office, and some x-raying equipment. Also included will be some remodeling to the facility as well. They’re also working on another grant for a bigger facility,” Stewart said.

“The tribe is really grateful for every dollar that’s been awarded because it means so much on the reservation. Tribes across the country were allocated something like $2.8 billion just for Indian tribes. It was a huge chunk of money.”

Other grants either submitted or in the process of being written include such things as money for lake management, grants for telecommunication and broadband, another pertaining to domestic violence, other housing grants, etc. “Really it’s just every aspect of government,” Stewart noted.

“It’s been a process where the tribe went out and hired a grant writer to tackle a lot of things because the opportunity is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity with President Obama’s stimulus money. Anything the tribe receives is wonderful and we’re thankful for that and hopeful the additional ones will come in.”