CASS LAKE-The Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe has been announced as a grant recipient in the latest round of Indian Community Development Block Grant Program (ICDBG) awards.
The ICDBG provides eligible grantees with direct grants for use in developing viable Indian and Alaska Native Communities, including decent housing, a suitable living environment, and economic opportunities, primarily for low and moderate income persons.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will use their grant of $1.7 million dollars to renovate the now vacant gaming side of the former Palace Casino and Hotel, which will serve as an emergency food bank and distribution center.
The building’s partial renovations will include remodeling 36,000 square feet of the available 81,000 by replacing the buildings roof, creating office spaces, climate controlled storage, and a walk in freezer.
Department of Public Works Director Alden Fairbanks said the building’s partial renovation is only the beginning of a large undertaking in helping develop the band’s food sovereignty and economic stability goals.
“Foodbanks are an integral part of food security, food security is a very necessary part of any Nation. Leech Lake as a Nation has to be prepared for longevity and survival in a Sovereign way, food security, economic stability, and sovereign integrity are essential to ensure that our Nation is healthy and prepared. These are only a few of the things that have to happen in order for us to be prepared.”
The band is the only Tribe within the state of Minnesota to receive such a grant and the project is expected to begin within this calendar year.
The renovation project is only the first step within a three part plan to fully renovate the palace casino and hotel for community use and the band is now taking public comment and feedback on the palaces beginning renovations.
Community members with feedback or ideas for the project are encouraged to email [email protected]