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Huntington Lighthouse repairs get boost from $145G grant

The 105-year-old Huntington Lighthouse, seen here on April

The 105-year-old Huntington Lighthouse, seen here on April 5, 2017, requires more extensive repairs than originally thought. Credit: James Carbone

The Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society has received a $145,000 matching grant that paves the way to complete the first phase of foundation restoration for the 105-year-old historic lighthouse.

The society applied for the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation grant earlier this year and had to demonstrate it had the matching funds before being awarded the grant. The society announced the award from the Hampton Bays-based foundation Aug. 21. The foundation, established in 1987, has a mission primarily to support the study of New York State history.

“We are just beyond thrilled,” said Pam Setchell, president of the nonprofit preservation society, which owns the lighthouse.

She said the grant comes at the right time: Restoration of the foundation began last fall and issues quickly arose after initial work uncovered the original landing platform had partially collapsed. Additionally, one side of the lighthouse’s footing does not have the foundational support shown in the structure’s plans, Setchell said.

Instead of simply repairing the landing platform, it has to be ripped out, along with existing stone, and a new platform built. Those changes pushed the restoration cost from $871,000 to $900,000.

“This money is closing the gap on completing the fourth side of foundation work,” Setchell said. “We actually have the funding to complete the revised work.”

Over the years the society has raised more than $740,000, including a $250,000 New York State matching grant. Additional fundraising efforts include a CrowdRise Campaign online, a grass-roots effort championed by two area residents that raised more than $27,000, and a $50,000 anonymous donation.

The society has faced new challenges. This year’s annual Labor Day Saturday Musicfest, a major fundraiser for the group, was canceled because of the unexpected repairs. The staging area where construction equipment is kept was vandalized.

But a fundraiser is scheduled in coming weeks with a local restaurant, and the society’s annual boat parade the day after Thanksgiving is to set sail as usual. Setchell encouraged people to continue to support preservation efforts.

“At this stage of the game, to have come this far, why wouldn’t you continue to preserve it,” Setchell said. “It’s the logo for the town of Huntington, chamber of commerce and so many businesses; it’s an icon of this area.”

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