Updated: Nov 2
By Joe Morey
The new Miskogiizhig Apartments constructed on Round Lake School Road at the North End of the Reservation where the casino bike trail meets the road is now ready for occupancy and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
In attendance were ARPA team members, who headed the project, Woodstone, Inc, and LCO Development, responsible for construction, LCO Tribal Governing Board members and other community representatives.
LCO Chairman Louis Taylor said this beautiful new building is just the beginning of what LCO is doing.
“We’re going to keep moving forward,” Taylor proclaimed. “I go to other reservations and things don’t seem to grow there, but that’s not us. We are growing.”
Taylor said he is very proud of LCO construction workers what they’ve done. “They deserve all the credit,” he said.
The apartment building is a two-level 40-unit structure with two and three bedroom units.
ARPA Coordinator Brian Bisonette said the new apartments were long overdue. His department oversees a lot of the construction projects taking place at LCO.
“It seems like just yesterday we held the groundbreaking,” Bisonette said. It was held in September of 2022 and construction started soon after in October of 2022.
LCO TGB member Michelle Beaudin said the plan is to do so much more in addition to this new apartment building because LCO still needs so much more.
Beaudin thanked all those involved including LCO Development, DBS, Woodstone, the Tribal Governing Board past and present, staff members and the state of Wisconsin for the grant.
Gary “Little Guy” Clause, TGB member, also thanked all involved and said tribal leadership is looking forward for the future generations by providing more housing.
“This was a collaborative effort of the ARPA team and our past and present leaders,” Little Guy said. “There are a lot of things happening from the new university dorms, the new clinic, new elder center. We have to stay focused on moving forward.”
Little Guy pointed behind him at the new apartment building and said this is a great thing, “A great thing for all of us. This is geared toward our young working members because they had no place to go.”
TGB member Bill Trepanier extended his deepest gratitude to everyone involved. “Your tireless efforts have brought this from dream to reality.”
Past TGB member Lorraine Gouge who was on the Board during the planning stages also spoke.
“Our Tribe is growing and systems are in place for this growth,” Gouge said. She spoke of those systems as the clinic, college and schools.
Dennis White, tribal elder who gave the invocation, said this building marks a new age for our people, a new beginning.
Bisonette acknowledged some of those responsible for the project, including Bookie Wielgot and others in the ARPA department who were instrumental in the K&B Loop infrastructure project, which provided sewer and water to the new apartments and many other future projects around the reservation.
He acknowledged Willard Gouge, Public Works Director, for heading up the K&B Loop project, and Chris Walters, owner of DBS who did the planning of this project and many others, and Ed Chaney, project superintendent for DBS Group.
Chaney said DBS Group is proud to help the LCO Community with this project and many others like it.
“We’ve been working with you guys for four years now, and Chairman Taylor is right, we work with other Tribes too and some are stagnant, but not you guys, you are building and building. We want to thank you for the opportunity to be a part of it.”
LCO TGB Members do the ribbon cutting with LCO Chairman Louis Taylor holding the scissors. From L-R are Gary "Little Guy" Clause, Michelle Beaudin, Bill Trepanier
Dennis White gives the invocation, with Brian Bisonette, ARPA Coordinator, and LCO Chairman Louis Taylor. Top right pic is Bisonette with Ed Chaney, DBS Group, and bottom left, Taylor just after cutting the ribbon.