USDA Announces $1.97 Million for New Community Center on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation


Investment Part of Obama Administration’s Commitment to Indian Country and Promise Zone Initiative

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD – June 22, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, Leslie Wheelock, Director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Tribal Relations joined other federal, state, and Tribal leaders to announce $1.97 million to Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) for a community center serving the Oglala Lakota community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The announcement was made at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Regenerative Community which plans to build additional housing, a small farm, an aquaponics greenhouse, a grocery store, powwow grounds and a youth center on the Reservation. Today’s funding announcement is for Phase One of the project.

“The lack of affordable housing and non-existent or crumbling infrastructure has locked too many tribal communities in a cycle that makes economic opportunity nearly impossible.” said Wheelock. “With creative public-private partnerships and smart investments like the Regenerative Community and critical housing and supporting infrastructure, we can break that cycle. This will be another example of how targeted, place-based, community economic development can work and another demonstration of the Obama Administration’s commitment to the future of Indian Country.”

USDA financing for this project comes from USDA Rural Development and includes:

  • Rural Housing Site loan for $489,000 to assist with the development of the streets and utilities for 23 lots;
  • Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance grant for $300,000 to establish and develop a self-help program that will start with the construction of 12 new homes;
  • Water and Waste Disposal loan funds of $30,000 and Water and Waste Disposal Native American Set-Aside grant of $672,000 for drinking water and sanitary sewer systems; and
  • Water and Waste Disposal loan of $271,000 and a grant of $209,000 for the storm drainage project.

In addition to USDA Rural Development, other investment partners include the Sustainable Home Ownership Project, USDA Rural Development, Enterprise Community Partners, the Northwest Area Foundation, and the Bush Foundation.

Thunder Valley CDC will manage the Regenerative Community under the direction of Executive Director Nick Tilsen and in cooperation with other community partners and key local, tribal and regional organizations, and will take a holistic approach to addressing the area’s most challenging issues.

In April 2015, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota was one of eight newly designated Promise Zones by the Obama Administration. Promise Zones are high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health and address other community identified priorities.

Today’s event is part of USDA’s celebration of the National Homeownership Month and the 50th anniversary of USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Housing program which has built 50,000 homes for new homeowners.

USDA Rural Development in South Dakota has offices in Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton. For more information, visit the USDA Rural Development website at

The Administration’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Office of Communications (202)720-4623

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