FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2017
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Town Completes Preliminary Work for Construction of Dock at Stepping Stones Lighthouse
Engineering Company Conducts Soil Borings to determine best design for dock
North Hempstead, NY – The restoration of the Stepping Stones Lighthouse is moving forward as Rising Tide Waterfront engineers recently completed their work conducting soil borings to ascertain the best dock design for the Stepping Stones Lighthouse. According to the Town’s Department of Public Works, which is overseeing the project, the most-likely design will be a fixed pier on steel pilings, with a gangway, similar to what the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse uses. Rising Tide is also providing field inspections and monitoring services of the lighthouse’s foundation.
“We are optimistic that we will have all our permits in place by year’s end and we can proceed with a design for the dock,” said Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “We are right on schedule to start construction in the spring of 2018. Building a permanent dock is the key for this project so we can have easy and safe access to the lighthouse. Other repairs and renovations can begin once that dock is in place. It’s a very exciting time and we are looking forward to having a permanent dock in place so that we can have safe pedestrian access to the lighthouse.”
“This is a significant step forward so that we have the facilities in place for proper access,” said Robert Lincoln, chair of the Lighthouse Restoration Committee of the GNHS and commissioner of the Great Neck Park District. “We will soon be able to halt further deterioration and move onto restoration of this precious part of our local history.”
“The Historical Society is so pleased that this preliminary step has been completed,” said Alice Kasten, president of the Great neck Historical Society. “We can finally look toward a restored future for our lighthouse. We are looking forward to the day that we can welcome groups into the lighthouse, and share the life of the lighthouse keeper with them.”
Since 2014 the Town of North Hempstead, the Great Neck Park District and the Great Neck Historical Society (GNHS) have been working together in partnership to save and restore the historic lighthouse. Stepping Stones Lighthouse, situated just 1,600 yards from Kings Point near the Throgs Neck Bridge, was built in 1877 and is in need of structural repairs.
The GNHS’s fundraising efforts include a 5K road race, selling t-shirts with the Lighthouse image and seeking donations from people interested in saving a piece of maritime history so intrinsically linked to the Town of North Hempstead and the Great Neck peninsula. To date, the GNHS has raised about $34,000 towards restoration and repair of the lighthouse and has funded an architectural study. The architectural study was completed by Modern Ruins, Walter Sedovic Architects.
The Town has been successful in applying for and receiving grant funding for the lighthouse project. The Town obtained $165,000 from the US National Park Service (NPS) National Maritime Heritage Program in 2015 and a $100,000 grant from the New York State Assembly in 2016. The Great Neck Park District obtained $100,000 from the New York State Senate in 2016 as well. In 2016 the Town again applied for the National Parks Service National Maritime Heritage Program grant which will be awarded next year.
The historic lighthouse was awarded to the Town of North Hempstead in 2008 as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. The National Park Service serves as the Town's federal overseer for the lighthouse project, with the GSA. As part of the agreement to have stewardship of the lighthouse, the Town agreed to file yearly reports to the NPS keeping them apprised of any capital improvements, to preserve and restore the structure within its historical accuracy, and to educate visitors about the lighthouse and its historical significance.
Anyone wishing to learn more about, or donate to, the Stepping Stones Lighthouse Restoration project, please visit: Great Neck Historical Society Stepping Stones Lighthouse.
Rising Tide Engineering Company takes soil boring out at the Stepping Stones Lighthouse. The findings will be used to determine what type of permanent dock to build that would allow better and safer access to the lighthouse.