Gathered on the first floor of what will soon be a finished home in Thunder Valley CDC's Regenerative Community Development, local community members looked around and imagined what the home will look like when surrounded by parks, stores and other buildings.
“It’s a great that it is centrally located and that there is easy access to this community,” says Alice Phelps, principal of the Wounded Knee District School. “I drive past all the time, but I’m always on my way somewhere else so I am glad I stopped in to see what is happening here.”
Alice stopped in to attend our very first Open House event, a designated time for community members to take a tour of our facilities, ask questions, and share their ideas for the Regenerative Community Development. Since TVCDC is an active construction site, the Open House events allow people a chance to see the progress firsthand without disrupting workers. Attendees are able to tour the homes that are for sale, look at floor plans and hear about what all will be included in the community once it is fully constructed. Additionally, families curious about owning a homes can see what options are available to them.
“We have homeownership options for every income level,” says Star Means, our Homeownership Program Manager. “And families buying one of our homes will have the added benefit of access to all the things we are building in this community. There will always be something to do here, for both kids and adults.”
The Regenerative Community incorporate years of feedback from local community members, resulting in a wide array of amenities being included into the 34-acre development. Not only will there be houses, but also outdoor recreation spaces, a community building, and retail and commercial spaces. But for now the biggest priority is getting the first seven houses finished so families can move in this year.
“Seeing the blueprints makes it more real,” says Alice. “You can really see how the houses are set up and that everything has a significance, like the shared green space each in the middle of each group of homes.”
In our tiyospaye housing clusters (tiyospaye loosely translates to extended family in Lakota), the homes & their yards are oriented in a circle around a shared green space. Families in each tiyospaye housing circle will determine what goes in that space, such as an additional playground area, a sweat lodge, garden area or whatever the families can dream up together.
“I like that people are really having to come up with solutions for themselves,” says Alice. “As an educator I know how important it is to reinforce the fact that it is not enough to just acknowledge a problem or obstacle, you also have to start thinking about what you see as a solution. I think you guys are showing that it’s doable and that anyone can make it happen.”