Stepping Stones Lighthouse dock likely to come in fall

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Stepping Stones Lighthouse
Stepping Stones Lighthouse, as seen from Steppingstone Park, where a race to raise awareness and money for its repairs started and ended. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Stepping Stones Lighthouse just north of Kings Point will likely get a permanent dock this fall, officials said on Tuesday, marking a preliminary step for restoring the worn down fixture.

The Victorian-style lighthouse overlooking Steppingstone Park in Kings Point was first built in 1876 to guide people through the rocky Long Island Sound. Since then it has been deteriorating, with officials estimating repair costs at more than $4 million.

Now the Town of North Hempstead, which was named steward of the lighthouse in 2008 to prevent the structure’s demolition, is adding the final touches to dock project plans.

“At this time, the Department of Public Works is reviewing the finished drawings of the dock from the consultant, with the intent of going out to bid for the project and awarding it sometime in September,” Carole Trottere, a town spokeswoman, said via email. “It is our hope that construction can begin sometime this fall.”

This follows engineers with Rising Tide Waterfront, a firm specializing in waterfront projects, completing assessments of the soil last fall.

The 2017 town capital plan calls for more than $1 million to go toward lighthouse improvement, with $666,407 to come through bonds and $365,000 expected in the form of three grants.

Those three grants are a $165,000 National Park Service grant to the Town of North Hempstead, a $100,000 state Assembly grant and a $100,000 grant to the Great Neck Park District.

The Town of North Hempstead is also applying for a $100,000 grant from the New York Dormitory Authority slated for the lighthouse, according to a town resolution.

Alice Kasten, the president of the Great Neck Historical Society, said the dock’s construction will be an important first step.

“… That’s a start, because once the dock is built, then we could start to work on the lighthouse,” Kasten said. “At this point, you can bring equipment there but there’s no way to offload it there.”

The Town of North Hempstead has been working with the Great Neck Historical Society and Great Neck Park District to raise funds and fix the historic lighthouse.

This has taken the form of hosting the first 5K for the Steppingstone Lighthouse, fundraisers, partnering with John F. Kennedy Elementary School, and other actions.

Currently, a collection of paintings, papier-mâché, 3-D structures assembled by the students are on display in the Metropolitan Commercial Bank in Great Neck at 111 Great Neck Road. They were previously on display at the Great Neck Library on Bayview Avenue.

“The Bank is thrilled to offer our banking center as a venue in raising awareness of the Stepping Stones Lighthouse preservation efforts,” said Ralph Ventura, a vice president and relationship manager for Metropolitan Commercial Bank.

Additionally, the next 5K will take place on Sunday, Oct. 14.

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