It’s been years in the making, but a moderate-to-low income housing project is underway.

Ottawa community leaders, East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Organization (ECKAN) officials and dignitaries from Prairie Fire Development Group ceremonially broke ground Thursday afternoon on the organization’s latest project, located at Enterprise and Cherry streets in north Ottawa and dubbed “Prairie View Estates.” The multi-family housing project — which will reportedly see a number of finished structures by the summer of 2019 — is slated to include a number of two and three-bedroom rental duplexes catered to workforce families. The project will include a clubhouse, community garden and on-site management, city of Ottawa officials said. The build site’s close proximity to the Northeast Ottawa Industrial Park and Lincoln Elementary School made it an ideal location, Prairie Fire officials said.

“The city is thrilled to see this project break ground,” said Wynndee Lee, city community development director. “Additional affordable housing is essential in Ottawa and we have been very pleased to be a part of working with the developers and ECKAN to ensure success. The project has been two years in the making, and will be financed with Housing Tax Credits, Moderate Income Housing Grant Funds, and Housing Trust Funds provided through the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation.

Though the project has been in the public eye for little over two years, the groundwork goes back much further than that.

“Wynndee [Lee] and I have probably worked on this almost 5 years before we could take it to the city commission,” said Rudy Manes, Prairie Fire co-owner. “So it’s been a long time in the making.”

Manes, an Ottawa native, has been a driving force behind bringing this project to his hometown.

“Two things that get me on board are when you start talking housing and kids, and I don’t think you could ask for a better location to provide housing,” he said.

The approved project was first presented in a memo to city commissioners in January 2017. The commission greenlit the project later that month, approving a resolution of support for state of Kansas affordable housing tax credits and in February selling the nearly nine-acre parcel of land to developers contingent upon their reception of the tax credits.

The project’s funding elements began to fall into place in November of 2017, paving the way for Thursday’s groundbreaking.

“The ability to finance and build this type of project takes focus and a dedicated team, and their participation has been paramount in pulling the financing together,” said Kelley Hrabe, Prairie Fire co-owner.

The first units are expected to be available to rent in the Fall of 2019.