News Release
Release No.STELPRD4016606
ContactLarry Yerich(907) 271-2424 ext. 125
Anchorage, Alaska, May 31, 2012 --

@@USDA-Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund today took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Copper River Native Association’s new health care and administrative facility on a 10 acre site in Tazlina.

The project is a joint venture between Rural Development through a Community Facilities direct loan of $10,000,000; Housing and Urban Development ($1,000,000) and the State of Alaska ($8,000,000). This new facility will replace the existing 40-year old scattered site facilities that were originally slated to be decommissioned or demolished in 1985. The land has been provided by Ahtna, Incorporated on a 99 year lease.

“The Copper River Native Association is very pleased to be celebrating its Groundbreaking Ceremony on May 31, 2012 to mark the beginning of its long awaited construction project for our new health and multi-disciplinary facility. The new 32,000 square foot single story building will house Primary Health Services, Behavioral Health Services, Tribal and Community Services, the Dental Clinic and Administration Offices,” said Paula Vrana, CEO of the Copper River Native Association. “The current center provides dental, audiology, community health aide/practitioner, community health representatives and nursing services, environment health maintenance, and an array of behavioral health and administrative support to approximately 3,000 Native residents of the area,” added Vrana.

“The Copper River Valley is a beautiful, historically important part of Alaska. When pioneering gold seekers entered the region more than 100 years ago, they found a flourishing Ahtna Native population. When completed, both Natives and non-Natives will be served by this well-designed facility,” said Nordlund.

The construction and subsequent opening of the clinic will eliminate the need for residents in the area to travel hundreds of miles to Palmer, Anchorage or Valdez for medical attention. Travel time is compounded during the winter months when roads are hazardous, and sometimes closed due to weather.

Concurrently, USDA-RD Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager is making an announcement to national media acknowledging and celebrating the effectiveness Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program across America.

USDA-Rural Development administers and manages utilities, housing, business and community facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing affordable health care, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing broadband access to 10 million Americans. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents and improve the quality of life in rural America.

For more information, visit