TWIN ARROWS, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise broke ground for the 15,000 square foot Twin Arrows Police and Fire Substation Dec. 15 before a crowd, which included council members, casino staff and Leupp Chapter members.
The Navajo Nation Council approved $4.5 million from the Síhasin Fund for the facility near the resort, which is in the Leupp Chapter. The Síhasin Fund was created from a $554 million settlement with the federal government and is managed and invested to provide financial support for the planning and development of regional infrastructure which support economic or community development on the Nation, according to the Council.
The substation will include a 911 dispatch room, training rooms, sleeping areas for men and women, a three-bay garage for fire trucks and is intended to provide public safety resources as the area around Twin Arrows continues to grow. Building the station is expected to be finished in September of 2017.
The substation will also serve more remote areas of the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona through an agreement with the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. The substation will include administrative offices for fire, medical and police.
Navajo Nation Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie, who was on hand at the groundbreaking, said he has told the council they need to support the Navajo police.
“They are the bravest because we send them out there into the dark zone with no backup and they still provide law enforcement,” Tsosie said. “The public safety building will provide much needed police, medical and fire services for the communities near Twin Arrows, including the Leupp Chapter.”
He said Twin Arrows had become one of the mainstays of Navajo economic development and the money for the development is coming from the Navajo Nation alone.
Jesse Delmar, executive director of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, said during the ground breaking the substation is important for the safety and welfare of nearby residents.
“This will really improve the services of the Navajo Division of Public Safety,” Delmar said. “Like Mr. Tsosie said, we want to take care of our own, collectively as Navajo people. We want to do this ourselves and not depend on the county, the state. We, the Navajo people… let’s do it ourselves.”
Delmar also said that he was glad that, through the building of the substation, the Nation will be in compliance with the Arizona Gaming Compact.
“We obligated ourselves as Navajo people that we’re going to provide law enforcement services, we’re going to provide fire protection and emergency medical services, as well,” he said. “By having this facility here, we’re going to be very close to being in compliance.”
Seth Damon, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee thanked everyone for their hard work on getting the funding and ideas for the project pushed forward. He said the Navajo people benefit from gaming across the Navajo Nation, even if they might be unaware of it.
“We have to continue to support gaming,” Damon said. “We wouldn’t have a five-year plan. We wouldn’t have a permanent trust fund expenditure plan…”
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said Twin Arrows is the flagship gaming facility on the Navajo Nation and it provides services to people all over the state, the Navajo Nation and the country.
“We want to provide every customer protection from the dangers of fire, criminal activity or any other emergency situation that could take place on the property,” Begaye said. “By building the fire and police substation, the Navajo Nation will provide all protection necessary to our customers and employees.”
Begaye said he wants people to know that whether they are attending a game or a conference, the new substation will mean they are protected.
“We are pleased to break ground on this important and much needed public safety facility,” said Quincy Natay, Navajo Gaming Board chairman. “It is imperative that fire, medical and police services are available to the Navajo residents in the Twin Arrows area and the Gaming Enterprise is happy to partner with the Division of Public Safety as they work to keep the Navajo Nation safe.”
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