Mike Kopp | Shale Plays Media
Multiple families squeezed into one home are getting relief in New Town, North Dakota. The North Segment region of the Forth Berthold Indian Reservation, including New Town, is a flurry of oil activity from the Bakken oil play. That’s how the North Segment Community development Corporation decided to build a second set of apartments in a 20-unit complex. Last week, it opened the first set of 20 new upscale apartments at the Wooden Bowl Development. Within a few days, applicants were screened and the apartments rented out.
The apartments are for low-income and elderly enrolled members of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara nation. “Housing is our number one priority,” said North Segment Tribal Business Council Representative Ken Hall. For many years, housing has been in short supply for members of the MHA Nation. Families double up and triple up on available housing; extended families share the same tight quarters. Hardest hit are elderly people who struggle to afford a place to live. In many places in the Bakken region, one-bedroom apartments rent for $1,500 to $2,500, putting them out of the financial reach of many people who have lived here their entire lives. The Wooden Bowl Apartments rent for $459 a month. Two-bedroom apartments are $547 and three bedroom apartments are $796.
Construction on the first set of 20 apartments in the Wooden Bowl Development stared on May 19 and was complete by July 31, weeks ahead of schedule. Construction on a second 20-unit building starts next week. “We hope to have to have it open by the end of October. We’ll have people lined up to get in,” said Jack Rothamel with Successful Resource Management, one of the partners in the
Representative Hall and Elgin Crows Breast of the North Segment Community Development Corporation started the work to meet the housing crisis in New Town last year, using the North Segment’s share of oil revenue. There are more than 1,170 producing wells on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Some of the money the tribal government receives is divided between each of the segments on the reservation. Each segment receives $3 million for infrastructure. The North Segment leadership pulled together a team to work on the project including Signal Realty of Minot, Bakken Housing and Investments and Successful Resource Management.
Tony Krecji of Bakken Housing and Investments said he is excited to work on the housing project. “I saw how people were taken advantage of and had to live in homes of inferior quality. People want pride of ownership, and these apartments are going to change the lives of many people. It’s going to be better for them.”
Representative Hall and the North Segment Community Development Corporation are looking beyond the next set of 20 apartments to continue to improve the New Town region. Working with the group assembled to produce the Wooden Bowl Development, the Corporation plans to develop the land along the truck bypass on the east and north edges of New Town. A large trailer court is planned to consolidate the three trailer courts currently in existence. Truck stops, hotels and restaurants are also possible additions in the area.