BURNSIDE, Ariz. — On Sept. 14 President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez toured the Ganado Shopping Center to review the progress of the project, which broke ground Oct. 27, 2016.
“The Ganado Shopping Center will help build our economy,” President Begaye said. “For years, our money has been flowing off the Navajo Nation because our people must drive into border towns for groceries and other products. It’s time for us to start investing in our own communities.”
The Ganado Shopping Center is part of the Permanent Trust Fund Five-Year Expenditure Plan, which is designed to spur development on the Navajo Nation. President Begaye and Vice President Nez signed the expenditure plan into law on May 7, 2016.
Nez commended the Local Governance Act (LGA) certified chapter of Ganado for spearheading the effort to construct a shopping center for their community. The chapter received their LGA certification December 4, 2014.
“The Ganado Chapter worked closely with the Division of Economic Development to make this shopping center a reality,” Nez said. “A project development team was established to conduct a feasibility study, execute land withdrawal, federal clearances and more.”
He said the community involvement for the project was integral.
“The Begaye-Nez administration met with Bashas’ to integrate the sale of Navajo Beef and produce from Navajo farmers in their supermarkets,” he said. “We will meet with Lowe’s to establish a similar agreement and continue retaking control of our food system. That is true sovereignty.”
The construction project is in its third phase and is scheduled for completion by Dec. 11. Upon completion, Lowe’s Shop n’ Save, Ace Hardware, Pizza Edge, Subway, and a laundromat will move into the shopping center and open to the public shortly after.
The center is located just north of the intersection of AZ-264 and US-191.
Honorable Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd (Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kinlichee, Steamboat) attended the shopping center project review and said Ganado has opened a new chapter in its history to make the basic necessity of fresh food available in a matter of minutes, not hours.
“This improves the lives of our Navajo People and our visitors,” he said. “Thank you to the many countless individuals to bring this day, and especially Lowe’s for being committed all these years. Ahéhee’.”
Arviso Construction Company, which is Navajo-owned, employed Navajos to make up the workforce to build the shopping center. In order to continue to recirculate Navajo dollars on the Navajo Nation and support job creation, the Begaye-Nez administration recommends that residents utilize the shopping center as much as possible.
“When this project is complete, we encourage residents to buy products from these stores,” President Begaye said. “We’re looking forward to more of these facilities being built across Navajo so we can continue to build our nation’s economy.”
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