First they moved the Gay Head Light. Now they want to fix it.
After moving the Gay Head Light farther inland last year, local officials are now looking for up to $1.3 million to complete repairs on the Martha’s Vineyard icon over the next few years.
The International Chimney Corp. was hired in 2015 to move the Aquinnah lighthouse inland to protect it from erosion, said Len Butler, chairman of the Gay Head Light Advisory Committee.
After the relocation was complete, the committee asked the Buffalo, N.Y., company to survey the lighthouse for damage, Butler said. The company came back with a list of 20 recommendations for a total restoration.
Butler said the red brick structure, built in 1856, needs to be restored “so that we do not lose what we have.”
“The lighthouse was extremely well built,” he said by phone Monday. “There’s no danger of it falling down. We just want to maintain it so it doesn’t deteriorate.”
Butler said the committee raised $3.4 million for the relocation in 2015 and allocated $350,000 for repairs.
“Certain unknowns came up during the relocation,” he said. “So that took away the money that we had raised, so now we find ourselves in a position of having very little of that original money.”
Only about $100,000 of those original funds remain, Butler said.
Butler said while the repairs are critical, the Gay Head Light remains stable. He said the committee has decided to repair the 160-year-old lighthouse over a period of time to help manage expenses.
“We’re thinking of ways of raising the necessary funds to carry out this work and we look at it as being a long-term project over six to eight years,” he said.
At a Tuesday meeting, Butler said the committee will begin thinking of how to pay for the project, including fund-raising projects, grant research, and asking surrounding towns for help.