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City of Casper helping Casper Housing Authority apply for $2.5 million project

Kim Summerall-Wright shows a draft of the final transformation of Willard Elementary
Kim Summerall-Wright shows a draft of the final transformation of Willard Elementary(Bobbee Russell)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:38 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The City of Casper is helping Casper Housing Authority apply for a grant to repurpose Willard Elementary. Willard Elementary hasn’t seen much action besides the traffic driving by.

It will see more after Casper Housing Authority bought it for over $300,000. The city is helping them get money to fix it up. “WCDA is managing the funding only cities can apply for this funding. What we’ve asked the city to do is put our application forward so that we could receive the funds for this project,” said Kim-Summerall-Wright, the Casper Housing Authority Executive Director.

The council approved to submit their application for this project. Willard Elementary will house their training center that helps community members become self-sufficient. Being self-sufficient can mean working towards skills for a job or trade. Also, volunteering in the community.

Lots of branches of the Casper Housing Authority tree will be under this roof. “We have a child care center on the property. People coming to training can put your kiddos in a licensed child care facility. Our housing offices will be there, plus the non-profit, plus the self-sufficiency team. we are excited about it,” said Summerall-Wright.

They are transition the daycare to an early learning center and also have the self-sufficiency team in place. They are the first housing authority in Wyoming with a self-sufficiency program. “What we are going to do is expand on the foundation we built and we realized we are successful with our model it’s just not big enough,” Sumerall-Wright said.

A focus to the child care facility will be nutrition. Summerall-Wright believes getting rid of generational poverty ends with education. The playground will stay in tact, but they are adding gardens and hoop houses where kids will learn to grow, harvest and cook food.

“There are a lot of pieces to a training garden that can be beautiful for kiddos who live in apartments and don’t have the chance to see a garden,” Summerall-Wright said.

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