With shovels in hand, state leaders and community members celebrated the start of construction on South Hero’s Bayview Crossing on Tuesday.

“This is a moment where hopes and dreams meet our state motto of freedom and unity,” Gus Seelig with Vermont Housing & Conservation Board said.

This time next year, the site will boast 30 units for Vermonters 55 and older. Governor Phil Scott said the project is step forward in addressing the ongoing housing crisis in the state.

“Every day we’re reminded how critical decent affordable housing is for Vermont families, seniors, students, employers, employees, our economy, and the overall health of our state,” the governor said.

Bringing affordable housing to the islands hasn’t been easy. Robin Way who leads Champlain Islanders for Developing Essential Resources, said finding a viable land, a good water supply and septic capacity made things difficult.

“A lot of our seniors were having to move away, move away from their communities and friends and find resources and housing off island,” he said. “And off island means a lot to people who live on island.”

In addition to CIDER, Cathedral Square collaborated on the project. Community members also raised $450,000 over 6 months to support the new project.