A file photo of the 2010 Huntington Harbor Parade of...

A file photo of the 2010 Huntington Harbor Parade of Lights boat parade. Credit: Chris Maione

Maintenance work in Huntington Harbor has derailed the fifth annual boat parade, a fundraiser planned for the day after Thanksgiving to benefit the Huntington Lighthouse.

Huntington Town officials say two projects, including one by the town that involves repairs to the Halesite bulkhead, are planned. The other project, the private dredging of the creek at Mill Dam Road, began Saturday.

Pam Setchell, president of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, which owns the lighthouse, said vessels for the projects assembled in the channel at the south end of the harbor would have made it "impossible to navigate safely through the parade route."

There are no plans to reschedule the parade, which officials said usually raises about $10,000.

"The work is necessary and all good stuff," Setchell said. "It's unfortunate, but the DEC [state Department of Environmental Conservation] gives you a very tight window of opportunity, so it has to be done. We're all unhappy but happy because it's for good reasons."

A.J. Carter, spokesman for Huntington, said the town supports the preservation society's decision to cancel the event. "We understand and appreciate their concern for safety," he said.

In September, the town board authorized a bond for the emergency reconstruction of the Halesite bulkhead that was compromised by record rainfall on Aug. 13. It was slated for repair next year, but the storm made the Halesite spot vulnerable. Carter said the $1.4 million project should begin Dec. 1.

Torkel Knutson, owner of the land that is to be dredged, said the Army Corps of Engineers project should take about two weeks.

The lighthouse, at the junction of Huntington Harbor and Lloyd Harbor, was slated to be torn down in 1984 and replaced with a steel tower. But residents organized efforts to preserve the structure, which in 1989 was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

About $170,000 has been raised toward a goal of $250,000 in order to secure matching funds from the state Department of Parks and Historic Preservation.

Setchell hopes to begin major preservation work on the lighthouse's foundation in March but needs the funds in place to get the matching grant.

The money will go toward purchasing and transporting 650 tons of granite boulders to protect the concrete at its base and landing, which is eroding.

Setchell said a capital campaign that began this year has a goal of raising $1.5 million.

The preservation society is "upbeat," despite setbacks including superstorm Sandy and a harsh winter. "It's crunchtime, and we definitely need to raise a lot more money," she said.

For information on donating or to learn more about the lighthouse, go to www.huntingtonlighthouse.org.

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