Town pitches $1.25 million for Stepping Stones Lighthouse

Town pitches $1.25 million for Stepping Stones Lighthouse
The Town of North Hempstead wants to spend $1.25 million on helping the Stepping Stones Lighthouse over the next five years. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Town of North Hempstead hopes to outlay $1.25 million to aid the Stepping Stones Lighthouse near Kings Point, according to the proposed 2019 capital plan, by far its biggest direct investment in the Great Neck area.

The project would complete the design and construction of a dock for the lighthouse, the capital plan says, and handle annual maintenance.

According to the plan, the town would invest $800,000 in fiscal 2019 and $300,000 in fiscal 2020, followed by $50,000 for each successive year.

“We are waiting on the dock to be installed before we can begin on the repairs,” Rebecca Cheng, a spokeswoman for North Hempstead, said via email. “In the future, we will be working on the exterior brick work and making sure the structure is water tight – but this would all come after the dock is installed.”

Robert Lincoln, the chair of the Great Neck Historical Society’s lighthouse restoration committee, described this as “exciting news” because once the dock gets built, they can focus on repairing the historic lighthouse.

“It sounds like they are making the commitment to get the work done on the building,” Lincoln said on Friday.

Most of the funding – $720,800 – would come from GO bonds, according to the plan, with the rest coming from three grants totaling $365,000.

The lighthouse rehabilitation is a joint project between the Great Neck Park District, Great Neck Historical Society, and the Town of the North Hempstead, which became the steward of the deteriorating lighthouse in 2008.

Lincoln said that while weather has been “taking its toll” on the lighthouse and repair costs could be in the millions, its foundation is stable and he is optimistic that someday it could be used for educational purposes.

Last year’s capital plan had called for roughly $1 million in spending over five years for improvements, almost double the $520,000 outlined in the 2017 capital plan.

There are also two unrelated projects outlined in the town’s capital plan for Great Neck: $45,000 for the Gold Coast Arts Center to update its façade and replace HVAC units and $53,750 to connect stormwater drainage structures at Allen Drive and Summer Avenue to the town’s larger drainage systems.

Great Neck’s project expenses make up only about one percent of the town’s planned $133.1 million in expenditures.

The Schumacher House, once located in Lake Success but now located in Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park, would meanwhile get $1.45 million over the next five years in the plan.

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