On May 25, 2016, SDTHA will break ground on the Village Housing Project, the first phase of a comprehensive master plan that is bringing proven urban planning practices to Indian Country and creating a sustainable vision for the Santo Domingo Pueblo's future.
By developing a comprehensive master plan that blends vital affordable housing units with necessary infrastructure improvements, the SDTHA has established a framework for long-term, sustainable growth within the Santo Domingo Pueblo. This plan will not only transform the Pueblo into a Rural Transit-Oriented Development connected to nearby cities via the New Mexico Rail Runner, it will emphasize the Santo Domingo Tribe's unique culture and create opportunities for artistic entrepreneurship.
SDTHA’s master plan introduces a progressive path forward by mitigating several issues that have plagued the Santo Domingo Pueblo for too long: a lack of affordable housing, a feeling of isolation, and poor intra-community transit options. The master plan also forges a distinct identity for the Pueblo and creates economic opportunities for the community’s rich artistic sector.
The Domingo Housing Project
In 2015 SDTHA received a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocation from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority through the federal income tax credit program. The Tribal Housing Authority’s master plan is using this allocation to fund construction of the Village Housing Project: 41 units of affordable rental housing and additional amenities.
Located within walking distance of the Santo Domingo Trading Post and Kewa Rail Runner Stop—a station on the New Mexico Rail Runner commuter line that services Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and other nearby municipalities—this mix of single and two story housing units replaces the cookie-cutter suburban model found on many Indian Reservations with an architectural style that is not only specific to the Santo Domingo Pueblo but, in a broader context, culturally appropriate for Indian Country. The units respect the tribe’s historical preference for density and shared community spaces while placing residents in close proximity to needed amenities.
On the outskirts of the development, SDTHA will erect a 3,000 square foot community center with a daycare, a computer lab, a playground, a basketball court, and a large multipurpose space for social events. An old railroad roundhouse at the center of the development will be converted into a series of community gardens.
Groundbreaking on the Village Housing Project will take place in May 2016 with an estimated 18-month construction timeline.
SDTHA’s master plan also calls for the construction of a series of affordable housing units that will be made available for purchase to members of the Santo Domingo Tribe. Located within walking distance of the Historic Main Village and connected to the Domingo Housing Project via the Heritage Arts Trail, the Village Housing Project draws inspiration from the density found in the main village and provides an attainable path to home ownership for members of the tribe.
The Village Housing Project
The Santo Domingo Heritage Arts Trail
Using funding provided by an ArtPlace America Creative Placemaking Grant, the SDTHA’s housing master plan calls for the construction of the Santo Domingo Heritage Arts Trail, a 1.5-mile walking and biking trail that will not only connect the Village Housing Project to the central portion of the Pueblo but provide six integrated art nodes where Pueblo artists can showcase their traditional and contemporary art work. The Santo Domingo Tribe has long been known for cultivating artistic excellence: 75 percent of the Pueblo’s residents consider themselves artists, though they currently lack sufficient public spaces to display and sell their work.
The Heritage Art Trail solves this problem. Running parallel to the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, it functions as a critical artery of transportation in a community where car ownership is a rarity and, through the presence of highly visible art nodes, raises awareness with passersby of the Pueblo’s exceptional artistic culture. This type of creative placemaking, where walkable paths elegantly mesh with existing infrastructure and foster opportunities for entrepreneurship, is an accepted tenet of urban planning. (The High Line in New York City and River Walk in San Antonio are two prime examples.) Unfortunately too few rural communities and very few, if any, American Indian reservations currently employ this planning model.
A Rural Transit-Oriented Development
The Heritage Arts Trail will function as the primary avenue of pedestrian travel within the Santo Domingo Pueblo, but it is just one in a series of planned trails that will transform the Pueblo into a truly walkable community. By connecting the Pueblo to the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, SDTHA's master plan will not only provide easy access to the jobs and healthcare facilities in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, it will begin to remake the community into a rural transit-oriented development
Construction on the Santo Domingo Heritage Arts trail will begin in April 2016. It is slated to open in the fall of 2016.