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Stepping Stones Light to receive restoration funding

Stepping Stones Lighthouse in Long Island Sound northwest

Stepping Stones Lighthouse in Long Island Sound northwest of Kings Point Park in Great Neck is shown on Oct. 3, 2011. Credit: Chris Ware

The Stepping Stones Light, deteriorating in Long Island Sound off Kings Point, will receive $100,000 in state funding for its restoration, officials announced Wednesday.

State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury) said he secured the funding for the Great Neck Park District as part of New York’s State and Municipal Facilities Program. The park district, North Hempstead Town and the Great Neck Historical Society are working together to restore the structure, which officials say is structurally unsound.

North Hempstead nearly lost ownership of the brick and wood Victorian Second Empire-style lighthouse in 2012 for doing little to maintain it after being awarded the lighthouse in 2008 as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

The town was supposed to make the structure open to the public for tours, under the law, and the U.S. National Park Service recommended it be transferred to a new owner.

Martins’ office said the funding would build a permanent dock so construction crews can reach the lighthouse to make repairs. The lighthouse, 1,600 feet from the shoreline, can only be reached by boat at high tide.

“Stepping Stones Lighthouse is both an important, functional maritime safety mechanism and a window back into our history. It must be preserved for future generations as both a navigational aid and educational resource. This funding enables the restoration efforts to move another step forward,” Martins said in a statement.

North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth in a statement said “this funding for a dock will address one of the most pressing issues, which is gaining safe access to the lighthouse.”

The floor of the lighthouse has a wide crack, exposing it to water, and the structure “is in danger of collapse or being torn down and replaced with a navigational beacon,” according to the statement from Martins’ office.

North Hempstead in April won $165,000 from the National Park Service’s National Maritime Heritage Grant.

Bosworth has projected the complete renovation to cost $4 million and has said minimal town funds would be dedicated to the project.

The historical society has raised more than $30,000 for the effort by selling T-shirts and other merchandise, and from private donations.

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