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Leech Lake reservation receives $1 million in grants for new assisted care facility

CASS LAKE -- Plans for a new assisted care facility in Cass Lake are starting to become reality.

Leech Lake tribal officials announced Tuesday they had received a $1 million grant for the construction of a new Elder Assisted Care Facility in Cass Lake. The grant came from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and will be received in two installments of $500,000 starting Oct. 1.

Carri Jones, chairwoman of the the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, said the tribe is "excited" to receive the grant.

"This is a really important project and we appreciate the Shakopee communities' help with this new facility," she said in a news release.

The 44,000-square-foot building is expected to cost $5.5 million dollars and will be built on 10 acres just west of the Indian Health Services Indian Hospital. Included in the building will be 32 residential living units, two hospice care units and dining and kitchen facilities.

The new facility will create an estimated 35 to 40 health care and health-care related jobs and will be self sustainable, allowing the facility to retain the jobs and the revenue within the community, the release said.

Steve White, a Leech Lake district representative, said a possible wing dedicated to Native Veterans may also be included in the building and talks are underway with the Veterans Administration about possible funding.

White said the new Elder Assisted Care Facility would allow community elders now living in assisted care facilities throughout the Midwest to be closer to relatives.

"They'll be able to come back to the reservation to be closer to home where they'll be closer to their families," he said.

White said while there is no definitive date for construction to start. "I'm just glad that we have this opportunity for this kind of construction and hopefully soon it'll be underway to get this project rolling here," he said.