Island Housing Trust celebrated this week the completion of a new development of four permanently affordable apartments for year-round residents in Aquinnah. 

Members of the community and participants in the project gathered Wednesday for a ribbon cutting at Carl Widdiss Way, with the incoming tenants set to move in Friday.

According to Island Housing Trust CEO Philippe Jordi, the project was completed on budget and ahead of schedule by more than a month.

Officials give a tour of the property. — Ray Ewing

Mr. Jordi expressed his gratitude for the development as a way to commemorate Mr. Widdiss, the late selectman and Wampanoag elder who encouraged the town to purchase the land for accessible housing 15 years ago.

“I think [Mr. Widdiss] has been honored by this beautiful neighborhood,” Mr. Jordi said. “It’s really a joyous occasion for us.”

The incoming tenants, who were selected by lottery, stood front-and-center as Mr. Jordi performed the ribbon cutting ceremony to a wave of applause.

Local officials and Island Housing Trust leaders addressed the crowd which included benefactors, contractors, the Aquinnah affordable housing committee and Pam Glavin, Mr. Widdiss’s widow.

“Such a great job was done on this and it fits so well,” said Derrill Bazzy, project manager and community preservation committee chair. “It just feels so good to have been in a project that objectively really works.”

Nestled in a lush clearing, the development features two free-standing structures split into two units each. The space includes on-site storage, a playground and a “food forest” of indigenous edible vegetation. 

Molly French Ashton will move into one of the units with her husband Aaron and their two sons. Securing affordable housing means the couple can continue to live and work on the Vineyard and raise their children here — a future that was previously uncertain.

“We’re so pumped,” she said. “We thought we were going to have to move off-Island.”