Twin Rivers Habitat for Humanity broke ground on two new houses to be built in the Lincoln neighborhood Tuesday.
The adjacent lots are located at 910 and 918 Third Ave N., near other Habitat for Humanity projects that are approaching completion.
"We've had a great opportunity over here to be working with the city on making this neighborhood a better place," Christine Dayton, executive director, said to a crowd.
Phil Somsen, Habitat board vice president, began the ceremony with a prayer.
"What an opportunity we have to work together in partnership, the city, the school, with Habitat, we're all together with an idea that we want to bless a family, but more than that, that we want to bless this community," he said.
Vicki Reeck, Fort Dodge community development manager, spoke about the project and the city's partnership with Habitat.
"We started this neighborhood project in about 2006, and we put about $3 million in grant money into this neighborhood," she said. "There are 11 new housing units constructed to date. Three of those units have been built by Habitat, and we're happy to have them as partners."
The project will be done in cooperation with Fort Dodge Senior High. Students in the senior high's Industrial Tech program will provide labor.
"We're very excited to enter into this partnership," Dave Keane, senior high principal, said. "We've looked to try to do some collaborative things out within the community, tried to build some partnerships with local businesses, and develop some quality work force for potential employers for our community."
Keane said he and his students are "very lucky to live in a community where we get so much support from those within our community and our schools."
"Up to this point, we've probably been able to spend right around $70,000 worth of community member or other organization dollars to provide us with materials to do those construction projects and provide our students those opportunities," he said. "Without that type of support, we would be doing much smaller scale activities."
Keane expressed his appreciation for the community and its support, and what the project will mean for the school's students.
"We're going to be able to establish some points of pride for our students, because there's nothing more satisfying than to go ahead as a student, participate in something that's going to exist long beyond when you're going to be here," he said. "We looked forward to hopefully maintaining this partnership for years to come."
The construction project will begin with 918. A family has already been chosen for the home, Dayton said. The project also initiates Habitat's "Be a Partner" campaign, to support the building of new homes.
"We've been preparing a lot and getting ready to move forward here, and to continue the work that we're doing in the Lincoln neighborhood, part of that comes with creating these partnerships, but we've been going further and creating more partnerships within the city, within the community," she said.
She added, "We will need more funding in order to keep doing these projects."
Dayton was joined by Reeck and students from the senior high's Industrial Tech course in breaking the dry ground. Behind them were members of the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce, which supports the project.
To volunteer or donate, call Twin Rivers Habitat for Humanity at 576-4316.