Stepping Stones construction underway

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The Stepping Stones Lighthouse (Photo courtesy of Town of North Hempstead)

Construction to repair the Stepping Stones Lighthouse dock has commenced according to the Town of North Hempstead. The project is a combination of efforts from the Town of North Hempstead, the Great Neck Park District, and the Great Neck Historical Society.

“This dock will be a game-changer for the restoration of the Stepping Stones Lighthouse,” said Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “We are all very excited to see this first step being taken. Following the construction of the dock, we will be able to more easily access the lighthouse to begin further restoration of this historic structure.”

The dock, which is the first step in the restoration of the entire lighthouse, is part of the Town of North Hempstead’s Five-Year Capital Plan. 

When Bosworth began her tenure in 2014, a partnership was created between the Park District and Historical Society of Great Neck to take steps into preserving structures such as the lighthouse.

“This has been a real group effort,” said Great Neck Park District Commissioner, Robert Lincoln. “Thanks in part to many who have donated, we were able to begin the initial construction to help maintain this Long Island landmark.”

Atlantic Coast Dock Construction Corp. is taking the initial steps to reconstruct the dock, after winning the public bid for construction in early April 2019.  After the financial contributions of government-issued grants, donations, and fundraising, the project’s cost totaled to $606,000.

“The notice to proceed with construction was issued on Sept. 9,” Town spokesperson Carole Trottere said. “Physical work has already started with an expected project completion prior to end of year.”

The restorations come at a time where the lighthouse’s foundation has been worsening, with the shifting of the foundation blocks being a concern for the structure’s stability, according to the town release.

In addition, debris riddles the cracked main floor, and the top of the lighthouse is suffering from falling chimney bricks, and granite bowing out from the northern side.

“The installation of the dock is an important milestone for the future of the lighthouse,” said Lincoln. “Only when workers can efficiently transport materials onto the structure can we do the basic stabilization and repairs which are critical and need to begin right away.”

Trottere also confirmed that once the dock project has been completed, the next steps will be to work on the stabilization and repairs of the lighthouse, as well as ensuring it is weathertight.

The town acquired stewardship of the lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2008, with plans to restoring and preserving the property as an educational site for future generations, according to a press release sent out by the town on Thursday.

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