Prairie Island housing

Construction has begun on homesites near the corner of U.S. Highway 61 and Minnesota Highway 316. The housing is being built by the Prairie Island Indian Community. (Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia)

RED WING — The Prairie Island Indian Community has begun work on a housing project near the corner of U.S. Highway 61 and Minnesota Highway 316 that should provide 41 home sites for community members.

“When we purchased that land, initially getting in our elder care facility was a huge priority,” said Rayanna Lennes, communications manager for the Prairie Island Indian Community. “With that done, we are now focusing on home sites for other community members.”

The senior housing unit, Tinta Wita Tipi, is a 38,000-square-foot building on a single floor. It opened in June 2018 and provides both independent living and assisted living arrangements, as well as apartments designed for short-term rentals. Tinta Wita Tipi is managed by Ebenezer Management Services, the largest senior living management company in Minnesota.

Lennes said having the home sites near the senior housing is a good situation.

"We highly respect our elders in our culture,” Lennes said. “So if we can have some of our people live near there, that’s awesome. With that proximity, they can interact easily with our elders.”

The current project is called Oyate Place, which means Family Place, according to Lennes. Phase 1 of the project will be 24 home sites and plans call for a water tower, as well as sewer, electricity, and other needs for the home sites to be ready by late fall. Phase 2 will be 17 home sites and is not under a timeline yet.

“As we have expressed as a tribe, housing is our main priority,” Lennes said. “We are really excited to have more housing for our community members. We have a long list of community members that want to be able to move to the home sites, so it is exciting to have this developing.”

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