The Town of North Hempstead was awarded a $165,000 National Park Service (NPS) grant to rehabilitate the historic Stepping Stones Lighthouse, which has fallen into disrepair. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the lighthouse dates back to 1877 and remains an aid to navigation today, as well as an important structure for educational purposes.
The town applied for the same grant in 2014, but was denied, and will now be responsible for matching the funding with $165,000. The restoration of the lighthouse will take place in partnership with the Great Neck Park District and the Great Neck Historical Society (GNHS).
In January, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer joined with Supervisor Judi Bosworth to urge the NPS to provide federal funding so that the town could make critical repairs to halt future deterioration of the lighthouse, ready the structure for rehabilitation and launch an educational campaign.
“I’d like to thank Senator Schumer for being such a powerful advocate for our Stepping Stones Lighthouse,” said Bosworth. “We are grateful that NPS is providing this grant funding, which will allow us to address some of the major structural projects that need to be done as soon as possible. We are fully committed to restoring this local piece of maritime history and we can’t wait to get started.”
Schumer added, “I’m pleased that the National Park Service has heeded our call by making the historic Stepping Stones Lighthouse a priority. Now that the Town of North Hempstead has been granted this federal funding, the Stepping Stones Lighthouse can finally be rehabilitated and remain a landmark structure on Long Island.”
One of the most pressing projects will be to gain safe access to the lighthouse, which currently can only be accessed during high tide and low winds. The funding will be used to build a temporary floating dock, ramp, boneyard and construction staging area so that other restoration projects can begin.
“We are pleased to see our collaborative effort coming to fruition,” said Robert Lincoln, chair of the Lighthouse Restoration Committee of the GNHS and commissioner of the Great Neck Park District. “While there is much work ahead, we are gaining much traction which will benefit both present and future generations.”
—Submitted by the Town of North Hempstead