Cherokee Nation Provides $1 Million to Salina for Water Infrastructure Upgrades

Cherokee Salina MOA
L-R: Front row: Cherokee Nation District 15 Councilor Danny Callison; Town of Salina Mayor Randall Plumlee; Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.; Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff Corey Bunch; and District 10 Councilor Melvina Shotpouch. Back row: Town of Salina Clerk Kathryn Hanna; Town of Salina Public Works Superintendent Dustin Monk; Town of Salina Public Works Manager Gary Jones; Cherokee Nation Environmental Health and Engineering Senior Director Billy Hix; Cherokee Nation Executive Director of Transportation and Infrastructure Michael Lynn; Cherokee Nation Director of Environmental Health and Engineering Chris Sams; and Cherokee Nation Manager of Environmental Health and Engineering Jerry Copeland.

SALINA, OK – Cherokee Nation leaders met with Salina officials to celebrate a $1 million contribution by the tribe to help the town improve its water infrastructure. The primary priority of the project is to rehabilitate the town’s water storage tanks, make them functional and bring them back up to code.

“This project is going to be a major improvement to this community and one that will better the water conditions greatly here in Salina,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The funds the Cherokee Nation is contributing will help with the planning, engineering and construction of this project to really make, I think, one of the most significant improvements we’ve seen in the town in some time. The opportunity to help a fine community like Salina on something that will make a generational impact is something we are always looking for.”

Several pump stations will be rehabilitated to improve the water pressure in homes and businesses throughout the town, and repairs and upgrades will also be made on the town’s water lines.

“The folks in Salina are hard-working individuals and we want to make sure we take care of these families because we’re always looking ahead to the next seven generations,” said Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner. “Water infrastructure is important and the need to improve infrastructure keeps us looking for new opportunities. These are communities that we will never forget and will always look out for.”

The project will serve more than 540 homes, many of them belonging to Cherokee families.

“We are super excited about this project that we’re getting ready to embark on for the next probably 18 months,” said Salina Mayor Randall Plumlee. “This project means that we can fix, not only the problems we have now, but we can plan for the next 30, 40, 50 years for the citizens of this town to have substantial water pressure and sewer treatment. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Cherokee Nation and Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. We look forward to our continued partnership with the tribe in the future.”

The $1 million contribution was made available through federal funds including the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and from the Indian Health Service (IHS).

“It’s a proud day here in Salina,” said District 15 Councilor Danny Callison. “This funding will help so many Cherokee families that live in Salina with water improvements. These water improvements will, not only advance Cherokee lives today, but also generations to come that reside here. It’s the work with people like District 9 Councilor and Speaker Mike Shambaugh and Councilor Melvina Shotpouch that have made it possible to achieve this improvement for the town of Salina.”

Between fiscal years 2021 and 2023, the Cherokee Nation has budgeted a total of $57.9 million for water and wastewater system improvements throughout the Cherokee Nation reservation using the tribe’s ARPA and IHS funds.

Cherokee Nation has helped fund 30 water infrastructure projects in communities throughout the tribe’s 14-county reservation over the last three years.