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Port soon to be proud owner of lighthouse PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 19:16

Officials say draft deed from federal government means long process of securing landmark is almost complete

    It looks like Port Washington will take ownership of its iconic lighthouse during the next month.
    Aldermen on Tuesday approved a draft deed to the lighthouse received from the U.S. General Services Administration.
    It will take about 25 days for the federal government to process the deed through its system and send a final deed to the city, City Attorney Eric Eberhardt said.
    “This is a milestone in the city’s history,” he said. “When people talk of Port Washington, they talk of the lighthouse.”
    “It’s been a long journey, but it’s good to get here,” Mayor Tom Mlada said.
    The quit claim deed approved Tuesday would transfer ownership of the lighthouse to the city for $1 and a promise to maintain and preserve the structure in a historically relevant manner, Eberhardt said.
    “That’s all you’re getting, ownership of the structure,” he said, noting it does not provide ownership of the breakwater or lakebed beneath the lighthouse.
    The lighthouse is being transferred as is, he said, with the city responsible for any needed repairs, including asbestos abatement and issues with lead-based paint, Eberhardt said.
    If the structure isn’t maintained, he added, the federal government can take ownership back.
    While the city will own the structure, Eberhardt said, the Coast Guard will continue to operate the fog horn and beacon since the lighthouse is a navigational aid.
    The city must make the lighthouse available for education, park, recreation, cultural and historic preservation purposes for the community, Eberhardt said, and is prohibited from holding commercial activities there.
    The city must submit a report to the federal government every two years outlining its uses and maintenance activities, he added.
    A sign acknowledging the federal government’s transfer of the lighthouse must also be erected on the structure within three months, Eberhardt said.
    It’s been three years since the city undertook the effort to obtain ownership of the lighthouse after the Coast Guard announced it would be divesting itself of the structure.
    Mlada noted that the city has a plan in place to repair the structure and has raised about $20,000 for this purpose — about two-thirds of the amount needed to replace the porthole windows.
    It will take another $500,000 to $1 million to repaint the structure, he noted.
    The city has also applied to have the lighthouse placed on the National Register of Historic Places.Daily Press