The Planning and Development Office will strategically create plans for economic growth to enhance the standard of living for tribal communities, by helping to create social, economic and environmental conditions that will protect Cheyenne and Arapaho culture and our natural environment. The Program strives to empower tribal members through participation in the decision making process to help pave the way for a thriving future.
In March 2018, the Planning and Development (P&D) Program was formed as a result of a merger of two (2) former programs – the Planning Program and the Community Development Program. As a result of this merger, the P&D Program has three (3) components; Research, Grant Writing, and Tribal Expansion and Construction. Also included in the reorganization is the Tribal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Program. The Planning and Development Program offices are located at the Department of Business/P&D building (former Smokeshop building). The program includes a staff of 13 employees including a Director, Assistant Director and support staff.
Research Component: The Tribal Planner is responsible for researching and compiling documents that serve as valuable guidance tools in the tribal planning process, grant writing and economic development projects for the tribe’s future. These documents include: Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), Master Plan, Land Use Plan, Base Study, Comprehensive Plan and C&A Tribal Properties booklet.
In 2020, the tribes were awarded a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to update the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) book which expired in 2016 and to create a Master Plan for the tribal reserves. The EDA award of $700,000 is a 24-month period project and extends from 4/20-4/22. Upon award, the EDA Coordinator was hired to oversee this grant and coordinate all activities. The CEDS book is a 5 year plan to enhance long-term economic development and promote growth. Activities supported by this award include: Determining tribal resources and needs, analyzing historic land uses, conducting feasibility studies and prioritizing future investments. The Master Plan will encompass assessing the land, businesses, and other assets owned and operated by the Tribes, with the initial focus area being the Concho Reserve, where the tribal headquarters are located. The other tribal reserves will also be assessed to determine feasibility of future investments.
Two (2) employee’s are assigned to coordinate these activities:
Christine Morton, Tribal Planner, Cheyenne and Arapaho, Associates Degree in Sociology. Employed with P&D 3 years; has worked for the tribes for 30+ years in various capacities. Fun Fact: I love to bead, learn my Arapaho Language and spend time with Family.
Hannah Prairie Chief, EDA Coordinator, Cheyenne and Arapaho. Employed with P&D since 10/20; has worked for the tribes for 10 years in various capacities. Fun Fact: I was born in Albuquerque, NM.
Grant Writing Component: The P&D Program staff includes a Grant Research Specialist and three (3) contracted Grant Writers. The Grant Research Specialist’s responsibilities are to research and identify funding opportunities for the purpose of securing grants specifically related to tribal government services and any program improvements. The Grant Writer’s will develop funding sources to support existing and planned program activities as well as organize the development, writing, and submission of grant proposals to third-party entities for the development, redevelopment and growth of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. Since the pandemic began in 2020, the grant writer’s focus has been to seek funding opportunities for CARES Act grants (CDC, HRSA, FEMA) EPA, HUD, BIA, NPS, and other private foundations. Once the pandemic is over and office space expansion is completed, the focus will be on hiring permanent grant writers.
Clinton Ellis, Grant Research Specialist, Cheyenne Tribal Member, Bachelor of Science Degree in History. Employed with P&D since 3/15/21; has worked for the tribes for 6 years in various capacities. Fun Fact: Enjoys playing Xbox in spare time.
Tribal Expansion and Construction Component: This component is responsible for construction projects that help to develop a tribal community with the necessary facilities and supporting infrastructure for programs that will offer services to tribal members. Some of these types of projects can be for health and wellness, head start, child care, substance abuse, or water, sewer, and gas infrastructure.
In May 2020, the Tribes were awarded federal grants from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) for new construction costs for COVID-19 issues, and Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) for Covid-19 issues. The Legislature approved the CARES Act Funds for the new construction of the Concho Food Pantry, Concho Property & Supply Building, Clinton Food Distribution Building, Concho Treasury Department and Clinton EMS & EMP. New Emergency Response Centers (ERC’s) are: Hammon ERC, Kingfisher ERC, Watonga ERC and Woodward ERC.
To address the pandemic, many facilities had improvements and equipment upgrades that would allow them to be easily sanitized and allow for social distancing. These were existing Community Halls in Concho, Canton, Clinton, Geary and Seiling. These improvements would transition them into Emergency Response Centers (ERC’s). The ERC’s will be utilized as a command center to effectively respond to health and medical needs of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members in the event of a man-made or natural disaster. Construction began in July 2020 with an estimated completion date of April 2021.
There are five (5) employee’s who share responsibilities in overseeing the many construction projects going on throughout the tribal reserve at this time.
Damon Dunbar, Director, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Member, Masters of Science in Native American Leadership. Employed with P&D 5 years; has worked for the tribes for 21+ years in various capacities. Fun Fact: I enjoy watching movies and snacking on theater buttered popcorn.
Casey Peyton, Assistant Director, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Member.
Virginia Richey, Office Manager, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Member. Employed with P&D 3 years; has worked for the tribes for 15 years in various capacities. Fun Fact: Friends call me Lou and I am a mother of twins.
Zachary Holt, Field Technician, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Member. Has been employed with P&D for 2 years. Fun Fact: I don’t own a pair of flip flops.
Samuel Alex Riffel, Project Manager, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Bachelor of Arts Degree. Employed with P&D for 9 months; has worked with C&A Tribes for 4.5 years in various capacities. Fun Fact: I’m a Roads Scholar.
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