Ho-Chunk Nation Housing Development Ground Breaking in the Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells area

By Ardith Van Riper

On Thursday, September 13, 2018, a ground breaking ceremony was conducted for the construction of six duplexes, totaling 12 new rental units for the Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells area.  The construction site is on the new Giebel Court Road, off from Fern Dell Road.
Neil Whitegull, Director at Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Agency (HHCDA), was the emcee for the event.  He asked Paul Cloud to say some invocation.  Mr. Cloud spoke a few words regarding the land and hunting on the land.  He thanked the planning committee and all those that worked to get this project where it is today.  Then he offered a word of prayer for the project, for the future, for the drum, and for all those in need of a prayer.
The Wisconsin Dells singers sang an honor song and then emcee Neil Whitegull briefly spoke about how the project began.  He stated that funds were put aside when Vagabond, a property just down the road, was torn down.  HHCDA was called into a meeting with David Greendeer, Henning Garvin, and Andrea Estebo and a man named Kevin Fitzgivens to discuss moving this project forward.  The way things work with regulation and how the land was zoned, the project took some time.  Jeff Hendricks helped push and put the wheels in motion.  HHCDA is working in collaboration with Ho-Chunk Department of Housing and Myra Jo Price because they will be taking over on the rental units when the project is complete.
The rental units will not be income based, they will be regular tribal rentals.  Each duplex is going to be a two bedroom and three bedrooms joined together. 
Dynamic Homes from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota won the bid.  Neil Whitegull says, “And for those of you who don’t know, Dynamic Homes is owned by Ho-Chunk Incorporated from the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.  They own Dynamic Homes as part of their holdings.”
Next, District 2 Legislative Representative, Kristin WhiteEagle, spoke about the community and thanked Paul Cloud for his words and the Wisconsin Dells Singers for their songs.  She mentioned Neil Whitegull and Jeff Hendricks and all the work they did on this project.  Representative WhiteEagle mentioned the other District 2 Legislator, Andrea Estebo, and her wishes to mention some individuals who had a lot to do with this area and they were Conrad Greendeer, Sr., Richard Day, Bernadine Tallmadge, Floyd WhiteEagle, Alvin Cloud, Sophie Mrotek, Clifford Lowe, June Whitethunder, Lyle Greendeer, Sr., Lenore Sweet, Dennis Funmaker, Alberta Day, Dillard Cloud, Evans Littlegeorge, Byron Thundercloud, Robert Funmaker, Jr., Kevin Greengrass, Kristine Funmaker-Romano, Daniel Brown, John Holst, Heather Cloud, Kathy Stacy-DeCamp, Henning Garvin, David Greendeer, and current sitting representatives Andrea Estebo, Carly Lincoln, and Kristin WhiteEagle.
Representative WhiteEagle went on to discuss the housing need for working families and thanked the staff at both HHCDA and Department of Housing for being present.  She also thanked Legislative Aid George ‘Hushi’ Greendeer for helping throughout all Southwest Wisconsin, his stories about this area, and for being present.  She recognized community members, elders, and representatives from Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells.  She thanked all involved in supporting the project and the partnerships with local governments such as Sauk County and Town of Delton.
Emcee Neil Whitegull returned to the mic and mentioned Jeff Stier, Jeff Stier, Jr., Phil Swanson, Myra Jo Price, Steven Bish, Scott McManners, and Collin Price.  Then he requested individuals make their way to the shovels for the ground breaking.
After the ground breaking, Patricia Reyes cut the cake and served it to those in attendance.  Community member, Owen Cloud, spoke about the past and thanked attending dignitaries for the duplexes where “people are going to move in, (have a) nice place to stay, have jobs, (and) kids are going to go to school.”