RAYNHAM — A blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for Pineneedle Estates, a Lumbee Tribe elder site, will be held Saturday at the Raynham-McDonald Volunteer Fire Department on U.S. 301. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m.
Pineneedle Estates is for elders residing in Tribal District 1, which encompasses Gaddy, Rowland, Orrum, Sterlings, Whitehouse, Thompson and Raynham. The $1.6 million project is funded with federal Native American Self-Determination Act money that the tribe receives through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to Alex Baker, a tribal spokesman. The complex will consist of 10 separate housing units, capable of providing housing for up to 20 elders.
“There are eligibility requirements that must be met,” Baker said.
Audrey Hunt, who represents District 1 on the Lumbee Tribal Council, said that the blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for an elder site in her district is a long-awaited event.
“We’ve been waiting five years for this day,” Hunt said. “This is a major event.”
Hunt thanked the members of the 21-member council for supporting the development of the site by approving the money needed to make the site a reality.
“The money has been allocated over the past couple of years,” Hunt said. “The funding allocation had to be approved by the full council.”
According to Hunt, her district doesn’t usually receive such a large amount of funding for projects such as the elder site.
“It’s an ongoing battle to see that our seniors in District 1 are taken care of,” she said.
Baker said that the ceremony, which will include participation by the District 1 Heritage group, is being held at the fire department rather than on the site of the housing complex as a convenience for elders and others who attend the ceremony. The site in Raynham, Baker said, is a field that currently has some corn growing on it.
Refreshments will be available, Baker said.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.