“I’ve never had a pantry!” Geneva Corwin said as she toured her newly finished kitchen for the first time. “I have cupboards now, it’s amazing.”
The pantry itself was still empty, but “it won’t be for long,” husband Calvin Corwin said.
Mrs. Corwin walked through her new basement, pointing out where she’ll have a sewing space and where a television will go. Upstairs, she excitedly pointed to the his-and-her closets (“with lights!”) in the bedrooms and the shiny blue countertops of the bathrooms.
“This is the first time we’ve seen it finished-finished,” she said of the home, built as part of the Island Housing Trust’s Lake Street affordable housing community. The Corwins were selected as homeowners for one of the townhouses in the duplex at 129 Wentworth Way, based on income qualifications and family preference. Mr. Corwin was born and raised on the Island, and now works at Granite Hardware; Mrs. Corwin works for the Vineyard Playhouse and at Little House Cafe. Their home was bought for $184,000. The other townhouse, bought for $225,000, is owned by Beth McElhinny, who was awarded the home in the Tisbury housing lottery last month.
“It was insane,” Ms. McElhinny said of the moment she realized she’d won the lottery. “I was clapping [with everyone] because I didn’t know I had gotten it...and then ‘It was me?’”
Ms. McElhinny, who works at Sandcastle Realty, grew up in Vineyard Haven and moved off-Island for a time when she had her children. She moved back to the Island in 2009.
“I wanted to come back, but [housing] is really hard to do here,” she said. Ms. McElhinny had largely been living with family, as had the Corwins, who were most recently renting Calvin’s father’s basement apartment.
“My stuff has been in storage for four
years,” Ms. McElhinny said. She said she had been coming by the townhouse throughout its construction to peek at the progress, but some touches, such as the landscaped yard and small fruit trees out front, still surprised her.
“We just wanted to take a moment to celebrate today,” Island Housing Trust executive director Phillipe Jordi told the Gazette during a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Thursday afternoon.
“We’re really proud of these homes,” he said to the gathered crowd of contractors, local officials and neighbors. Mr. Jordi thanked the town of Tisbury for their role in the successful completion of the project — Tisbury Community Preservation Act funding provided $580,000 toward the houses, “which really made this all possible,” Mr. Jordi said. The Edgartown National Bank was also “tremendous,” he said, as they provided a total of $1.46 million in construction financing and helped the homeowners with loan financing.
The Wentworth Way townhouses were designed by LDA Architects of Cambridge and MacNelly Cohen Architects of West Tisbury. Chilmark builder Farley Pedler of Drews Cove Builders constructed the homes, using local subcontractors such as John Keene Excavation, Jared Brissette Electric, and Nelson Mechanical Design.
“The hard work is really evident,” Mr. Jordi said. The homes were built to be energy efficient, with such features as triple-glazed windows, air-source heat pumps, and heat recovery ventilators.
Brian Nelson of Nelson Mechanical Design said he was excited by the progress made in the realm of green design.
“What’s marvelous and astonishing to me is that the technology and the will has gotten us to the place where this home is 20 to 30 per cent more efficient than anywhere [else],” he said. “It’s an amazing confluence.”
“It’s been a collaborative effort from everyone in the community,” Mr. Pedler said.
“It’s something in the end that we do right,” Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel said. “It enables people to be part of our community.”