TAHLEQUAH, Okla.—The Cherokee Nation turned dirt Friday to begin construction on $4 million new duplexes for low-income Cherokee families that will replace ones built in 1969.
Leaders gathered to celebrate the new Birdtail Addition on Ross Street in Tahlequah which will include 16 rental units when they are complete in 2023.
“We know that our Cherokee families thrive when their surroundings are safer and more efficient and don’t have to worry about higher utility costs or things not working as well as they should,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Deputy Chief Warner and I, have worked with the Council of the Cherokee Nation to ensure housing is a priority and invested $120 million as part of our Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act to build new homes, replace aging homes, create more home ownership and upgrade our rental housing across the reservation. It’s great today to see more of our continual progress.”
Birdtail Addition is one of the rental properties of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation. It was originally built in August 1969 under the 1937 Housing Act.
“New and affordable housing is such a huge need within the Cherokee Nation and we quickly realized these particular rentals were aging and needed to be demolished last year and rebuilt, so its exciting to be making these changes which are significant to so many families,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said.
The 16 new duplexes that will be built across the road from the Cherokee Nation’s Outpatient Health Center, include two 4-bedroom individual units, eight 3-bedroom duplexes and six 2-bedroom duplexes. TriArch are the architects and Arrowhead the contractors.
Jerri Killer, interim executive director of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation said preference for the new units will be given to the families living in the former site who were temporarily relocated, as well as Cherokee elders.
“This is just the first groundbreakings of many in a long line of projects for new home construction, rental units and housing replacements,” Killer said. “It’s really a historic time for housing in the Cherokee Nation.”
As part of Chief Hoskin and Deputy Warner’s Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act of 2019 more housing projects are planned or ongoing.
The projects include six one-bedroom elder housing units in Stilwell, single family housing units in Locust Grove, eight duplexes in Sallisaw, four one-bedroom elder units in Marble City, in addition to new home construction for citizens with and without land throughout the Cherokee Nation Reservation.