Volunteers are planning to turn an abandoned softball field in Des Moines into a 10 home neighborhood in less than three weeks. Jenna Nathan with the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity says a groundbreaking ceremony will be held this afternoon (Thursday at 5:30pm) on the site located on the city’s southeast side.

“It’s by far the largest project that we’ve ever done here in Des Moines,” Nathan said. “Other affiliates across the country have done similar things, but we’re really focused on building neighborhoods and not just one house at a time.” The foundations on the new homes will be laid later this summer before the 20-day building project begins September 13th.

“We’re going to use about 3,000 individual volunteers, not including our subcontractors and our staff here at Habitat for Humanity,” Nathan said. Ten low-income families will move into the homes and take on a 20 year no-interest mortgage. Nathan says their monthly payments will be around $350 to $400.

The new homeowners are required to work on their homes and the other homes being built over the 20 day period. Principal Financial, Wells Fargo, Kemin Industries and the Des Moines Area Association of Realtors helped finance the land purchase and building materials.