New Era for Northern Arapaho: Tribe to Increase Essential Health Care, Childcare Services

Published October 14, 2018

RIVERTON, Wyo.  —  A new, round-the-clock childcare center and greatly expanded health care services will soon be available in Riverton thanks to investments from the Northern Arapaho Tribe, First Interstate Bank and MoFi, a nonprofit community development lender serving the Rocky Mountain West.

In addition to providing needed services in the community, the two projects will create 80 new permanent, full-time jobs as well as 30 construction jobs. Both projects were expanded to better serve the community, the Northern Arapaho Tribe and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe with the help of New Markets Tax Credits, brought to the project by MoFi.

The two projects will be catalytic on the Wind River Reservation. The new Arapaho Childcare Center, which is being built behind the Wind River Hotel & Casino, offers a solution to a barrier that many people face, a lack of affordable, high quality childcare. The new 13,000-square-foot center will open in December 2019 and will provide space for over 300 children ranging from infants up to 10 years old. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provide a sliding fee scale to ensure affordability for low-income families. The casino, which employs over 500 people but often has unfilled positions due to employees’ limited access to childcare, is one of many local employers expected to benefit from the new center.

“It took a lot of hard work from local folks here on the ground, and support from our funding partners, to make these two important projects a reality,” said Patrick Goggles, President of Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing, which is developing the childcare center. “We couldn’t have done it without the dedication and efforts of so many; The Northern Arapaho Business Council, MoFi, the teams at Wind River Cares, Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing, WR Casino management and our local funding partner, First Interstate Bank. All the parties contributed throughout the due diligence period to make this NMTC project a reality. We are all excited about the outcome. The legacy of the late (Northern Arapaho Business Council Member) Norman Willow Sr. lives on; we will complete his work and his vision.”

Across town, the Wind River Cares Clinic is undergoing a remodel and expansion to support an integrated, whole-patient model of care. New and expanded services will include a part-time endocrinologist to support pre-diabetic and diabetic patients, increased behavioral health services to address and prevent substance abuse issues, an OB-GYN, a psychologist, a full-time physical therapist, a full-time pediatrician, full-service dental (with six dental operatories), optometry services, lab, radiology and X-ray services, a full-service pharmacy and several other specialties to support the growing medical needs of the tribal population. It will also extend evening and weekend hours, becoming the only clinic in Fremont County that will be open seven days a week. Expanded services will be available in December 2018.

“Expansion of the 12th Street clinic will help to address critical health care needs of our people. With the support of New Markets Tax Credits and all the parties involved, we will be able to bring new and expanded services to improve the overall quality of life for our Tribe and the surrounding communities,” said Richard Brannan, Director of Wind River Cares.

“MoFi is thrilled to work alongside the Northern Arapaho Business Council, Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing, Wind River Cares and First Interstate Bank to help these projects get off the ground,” said Dave Glaser, President of MoFi. “Both facilities are helping the community by providing much-needed services – whether it’s creating a safe place for parents to leave a young child so they can work the night shift or giving chronically ill patients access to high-quality care in Riverton. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these projects will profoundly improve everyday life for members of the tribal community.”

The New Markets Tax Credit Program is an innovative federal program that helps incentivize and finance economic development projects in low-income census tracts around the country. MoFi works with investors to turn the credits into cash, then uses that cash to fund catalytic development projects in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. This project is MoFi’s second in Wyoming since expanding to the state earlier this year. In June, MoFi helped finance the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites in Torrington, a project that will bring an economic boost and much-needed lodging capacity to the city.

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