A lot of dirt between Wells Lake Boulevard and Veterans Avenue at Chaffee Crossing doesn’t look like much now, but when completed, it will be a new single-family neighborhood nestled in the heart of the area.

“This is really important,” said Lorie Robertson, Chaffee Crossing director of marketing. “This is a little lower entry point into single-family residential for us here at Chaffee Crossing, so that’s opening up opportunities for a greater percentage of the market to own a home at Chaffee Crossing and enjoy all the quality of life amenities that are out here nearby.”

The development, named Lakeside Crossing, is central to many of the area’s offerings. It is across the street from the Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, will have a dog park next to it and should be within walking distance of trails, golf, soccer, and a soon-to-come multi-use facility that will have a restaurant and other commercial amenities, said ERC Assistant Vice President Nicole Swanson.

“Our goal for Chaffee is to make everything walkable and accessible for everyone,” Swanson said. “This is a wonderful location, right across the street from the nature center and plenty of opportunity to get out and have a wonderful time outdoors.”

Plans for the subdivision include 61 lots for homes between 1,650 square feet and 2,400 square feet. The base price will be roughly $220,000, but buyers should still expect quality, Tim Mays, the exclusive builder for the development, said Wednesday at the groundbreaking.

Mays said the homes will be energy efficient, feature granite, wood and some will have two- or three-car garages. They also will not be copy and paste replicas of each other; the homes will have varied floor plans to suit the needs of different types of families.

Not only will the finished development itself financially impact Fort Smith, but the project from start to finish wil benefit the city long term.

“One of the things that’s really important to recognize about a development like this is that these are local investors, local contractors, local builders who are building these neighborhoods,” Robertson said. “That means the money that’s being invested is staying right here in the Fort Smith region. That’s very important for our economy.”

Robertson said this newest expansion, on top of three additional groundbreakings next week and the Young Home Activity Center dedication, is a significant step that should have implications for even further advancement.

“This is a real beacon of hope for our area. It shows that Fort Smith can grow and is growing, and this is a great place for families to live and work. We’re very excited about the opportunities that continue to arise,” Robertson said. “It’s hard to talk about dirt, but we can see the dream.”