June 13, 2008 –
The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) was honored with a national 2007 Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives Award from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on June 4 in Tribal Council chambers.
Tim Ramirez, Director of Public Works, was on hand, along with members of the Tribal Council, to accept the award from FHWA Kansas representative David LaRoche and Karen M. Gilbertson from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).
LaRoche said that he was happy to present the award to the PBPN which has produced a model pedestrian/bicycle trail that other tribes and state groups are replicating.
The project consists of a 2.1 mile asphalt trail that is now under construction by the PBPN’s Division of Road & Bridge. It is located ½ mile south of 158 & K Road to ½ mile south of 158 and M Road on the reservation. When finished, the trail will connect some of the housing clusters and the K-Road work complex and will offer a recreational transportation facility for the community.
The award falls under the FHWA category of “process improvements” that is designed to support and measure FHWA’s environmental stewardship responsibilities and responsiveness to the needs of communities.
According to Deb Miller, Kansas Secretary of Transportation, the unique cooperative agreement between the PBPN, KDOT and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has benefited all parties and is serving as a model on which other agreements can be written.
In an article posted in the August 2006 edition of the Potawatomi News, Tim Ramirez said that he had been applying for state and federal funds for the trail for over five years. He noted that the primary problem with attaining the funds before the three groups came together was that there was no mechanism in place to receive the kind of help that the tribe needed for this type of project.
Much of the trail has already been completed between a couple of the housing clusters and Prairie People’s Park which will probably get a lot of use this weekend during the PBPN Pow-wow being held at the park.