New pier, floating dock for Stepping Stones Lighthouse

New pier, floating dock for Stepping Stones Lighthouse
Stepping Stones Lighthouse, as seen from Steppingstone Park. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Stepping Stones Lighthouse will be receiving a new fixed pier and floating dock as part of a $535,000 expenditure included in North Hempstead’s recently approved 2023 capital plan.

The five-year plan, unanimously approved by the seven-member Town Board during the Jan. 24 meeting, calls for $126.9 million in spending that will be funded with a combination of borrowing, grants and existing cash.

According to the plan, $97.5 million will be paid for through bonds, and the rest will come from government grants, available cash from prior borrowings and funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. 

The town acquired ownership of the lighthouse, which sits about 1,600 yards off the shore of Kings Point, from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2008 as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.  It agreed to submit yearly reports to the National Park Service on “any capital improvements to preserve and restore the structure within its historical accuracy.”

Preserving the lighthouse, which was built in 1877 and updated in 1944, has been an area of concern for local officials and community organizations in the area.

North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said she held “productive meetings” with members of the Great Neck Historical Society in September to talk about ways to better preserve the lighthouse.

Former state Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso helped secure $200,000 from state funding for the town, which also received $165,000 from the National Maritime Heritage Grant, according to officials.

Former state Sen. Jack Matins aided in securing $100,000 for the Great Neck Park District and the Great Neck Historical Society has raised more than $120,000 for restorations.

Additional highlights in the capital plan include allocating over $267,000 for additional improvements to the Sept. 11 Memorial at Manhasset Valley Park, such as a remembrance wall and presentation area.

  $22.1 million over the next five years will be allocated for the town’s annual road resurfacing program, with $4 million and $300,000 allocated each for residential and industrial roads, respectively. 

 $4.3 million will go toward improvements and buying equipment at Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington, including resurfacing the cart paths and course maintenance. 

Multiple residents told the town board the golf course’s quality and care were not meeting expectations associated with its high fees over the summer. 

The capital plan was put together in collaboration between all seven members of the town board and department heads. 

“I want to thank each of them for their hard work identifying projects important to their districts, and Townwide, as we seek to not just maintain, but improve our parks and our Town infrastructure,” DeSena said in a statement.

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