The city received the grants during the last three months, according to KGUN 9. The funds will be used to improve educational programs and structures at Camp Naco. A library and meeting space will be constructed in one of the 23 planned buildings. A museum will also be built on the land to educate local residents and visitors about the area's history.
Many of the alliance members were pleasantly surprised by the news.
"Camp Naco has been in the background for many ... years," Carlos Bazan, an NHA board member, said. "It's literally almost been forgotten. I was actually having a difficulty actually believing that someone actually paid attention to us and paid attention to our need and our requirements and the reason why we wanted to do this. Somebody actually listened."
The project is important to the community and region because of Camp Naco's connection to Buffalo Soldiers, KGUN 9 reported. These soldiers were Black cavalry members who lived in tents at the Camp Naco site and protected the U.S. border from war skirmishes south of the area. The rehabilitation of the buildings also will preserve local history and provide necessary space for community meetings and events such as plays.
"This is just amazing," Rebecca Orozco, community coordinator for the Naco Heritage Alliance, said. "For years, I would lay awake at night and dream about winning the lottery and think about what I would do with the money. And this is like winning the lottery."