DENNEHOTSO, Ariz. - The community of Dennehotso celebrated the groundbreaking of a much-needed multipurpose building on March 24 at an event that attracted community members, tribal dignitaries and well wishers from across the Navajo Nation.
The $2.7 million facility, designed by David N. Sloan and Associates from Albuquerque, N.M., was made possible by several financial contributors, including the state of Arizona, the Transportation and Community Development Committee of the 21st Navajo Nation Council; the Navajo Capital Improvement Office; the Navajo Division of Community Development; the Tuba City Abandoned Mine Lands Administration; the Utah Navajo Revitalization Fund Program, the Dennehotso Chapter and the Navajo Design and Engineering Department.
The 8,092-square-foot facility will be used for multiple purposes and will include space for a new senior citizens center, a dining room, an activity room, a reception area, a resource library, office space, a conference room and a youth area.
The new facility is expected to be completed in 10 months after nearly three years of work and planning. George Hubbard with the Navajo Nation Design and Engineering Department will continue spearheading and coordinating the project.
Katherine Benally, council delegate for the Dennehotso Chapter, thanked everyone for their contributions to making this facility a reality, including retired Arizona State Senator Karen Johnson.
"In 2007, Karen Johnson sponsored legislation for our multipurpose facility at the Arizona State Legislature," Benally said. "We received $450,000 from this ... Without her, we would not have this building. She did this for us," she added.
Sylvia Laughter, former Arizona State Representative and Dennehotso resident, also thanked Johnson.
"Karen Johnson cares about Native Americans," Laughter said. "She lived in Show Low ... where she befriended a Navajo woman. Karen's love for Navajo people came long before this project, she has a great love for Navajo people."
Laughter added, "You all worked together and supported one another. We want to show other chapters what working together can do."
Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan also remarked, "The effort of this community shows persistence and perseverance, and it is a model to be duplicated for other Navajo communities across our great Navajo Nation. Be proud of your efforts and of your accomplishments today."
The Dennehotso Chapter thanks the following individuals and agencies for their support: Harvey McKerry, former chapter president; the local senior council and senior citizens; staff with Dennehotso Senior Center; Arizona State Legislature; former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano; Sylvia Laughter, former Arizona state representative; Navajo Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr.; Arbin Mitchell, division director for Navajo Division of Community Development; Casey Begay and Marie Begay with the Capital Improvement Office; Fred Marianito, director of Design and Engineering; Beverly Coho with Navajo Business Regulatory; Marty Ashley with Navajo Office of the Controller; Navajo Department of Justice; Office of Management and Budget; Tony Dayish with the Utah Trust Fund; Ray Tsingine with Western Navajo AML; Tincer Nez Jr. with Western Navajo NAAA; Architect David Sloan and the Arizona Department of Economic Security.