SPAVINAW – The Cherokee Nation is giving the Spavinaw Youth & Neighborhood Center a green boost with the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Neighborhood Center building, which are expected to reduce utility costs by up to 80%.
Cherokee Nation Senior Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Senior Chief Bryan Warner, District 9 Tribal Councilor Mike Shambaugh and District 10 Tribal Councilor Melvina Shotpouch met with Francis Solar leaders David R. Jankowsky and Seth Christ and Spavinaw Youth & Neighborhood Center founder Rusty Henson to celebrate the installation of the signs on September 15th.
The facility is part of the $ 30 million Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act created by Hoskin and Bryan Warner in 2019. Twenty-five percent of the housing, employment act funds and sustainable communities are being set aside to help Cherokee citizens repair their housing and to upgrade Cherokee community buildings with connectivity and sustainability projects such as solar power, HVAC systems and Wi-Fi connectivity .
âThe Spavinaw Youth & Neighborhood Center does so much for its community. Rusty Henson and the team of volunteers here help keep Cherokee culture alive. What we want them to do less is worry about the electric bill. These solar panels will reduce about 80% of their utility bills, âHoskin said. âIt also helps us meet our responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. This is all part of an initiative that Deputy Chief Warner and I, with the support of the Council, started working on a few years ago. This is the sustainable community part of this important legislation, which helps us make sure we have a sustainable planet. “
Over the life of the solar panels and the subsequent reduction in utility costs at the Spavinaw Community Center, the savings will be equivalent to taking three vehicles off the road, planting over 11,000 trees, saving over 460 000 pounds of coal and save more. over 1,000 barrels of oil.
âI think it’s great to have that because our electricity bills seem higher. I think we’re all for anything that will help people be, maybe, less stressful and save energy, âShotpouch said. “I think it’s great to see this project become a reality.”
The solar project is distributed through the Tribe’s Community & Cultural Outreach Sustainability Grant, which aims to fund eco-friendly efforts and other cost-effective renewable energy technologies in Cherokee community buildings in the reserve of 14 counties of the tribe.
âIt is very difficult to raise funds as a non-profit organization. Any money we can save, whether through energy costs or overhead, is more money we can raise for the community and especially for the youth in the community, âHenson said. âIt will offer more afternoon snacks or veterans programs, to improve them, make them better and make the community more enjoyable. We are happy to partner with the Cherokee Nation and look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come.
The Cherokee Nation also assisted the Mid County Community Organization in Adair County, the Native American Fellowship Inc. in Nowata County, the Tri-Community Association in Cherokee County, the Neighborhood Association of Chewey in Adair County and the Rogers County Cherokee Association in Claremore with a solar panel on the roof. facilities.
Francis Solar has worked with the Cherokee Nation for about five years, and Jankowsky said the tribe’s efforts are âtruly pioneering renewable energy technologiesâ throughout the reserve.
âThe Cherokee Nation has certainly taken a leadership position among the tribes of the United States, whether it is solar, wind or electric charging infrastructure, the Cherokee Nation occupies this leadership position and we are honored to be able to help in a little way, âJankowsky said.