Digest>Archives> May 2010

Lighthouse Gets $600,000 — With Strings

By Bill Bleyer


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The nonprofit group restoring the historic Execution Rocks Lighthouse off Long Island has gotten a big boost from a $600,000 New York State grant.

Craig Morrison, president of the Philadelphia-based Historically Significant Structures, said the group learned in early March from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation that it would be eligible for the funding. The money would cover almost half of what is expected to be a $1.4 million restoration.

“It’s fantastic,” Morrison. “I understand there was only $21 million available for historic preservation in last year’s state budget, so I’m glad we got this much.”

But there’s a significant catch. The state will reimburse the organization for 50 percent of what it spends, up to a total of $600,000. So, Morrison said, “We have to raise money to get the money. We have to present paid bills from contractors to the state to get the money.”

And so far the group has raised only $3,000. “We need a lot more to even start contracting” — about $100,000,” he said. “We’re still looking for corporate and private sponsors.” And to help raise more money, the price for boat trips out to the site that begain last summer and cost $50 per person will be raised because the $50 only covered costs.

Morrison said the group has gotten some help locally. The American Merchant Marine Museum at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point has provided the group with free office space and several professors have joined the group’s board.

Morrison said restoration work on the structure built in 1850 would be done in phases by contractors. The first step would be to remove lead paint from the interior. That could be done this summer if enough funds are raised. Because of the public funding, all work would have to be awarded by competitive bidding. Morrison said the grant would also probably cover the cost of getting electrical service restored to the lighthouse, restoration of the interior of the keepers’ quarters and painting the exterior of the tower.

The second half of the work would include reconstruction of the steam engine room, general cleanup of the island and reconstruction of a shed that would now enclose a bathroom.

The grant funds would come from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund under a program administered by the parks agency.

This story appeared in the May 2010 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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