City Eyes Funding To Hasten Lighthouse Project

lighthouse plaque

OSWEGO – At this week’s Administrative Services Committee meeting, councilors gave a big boost to the lighthouse restoration project.

Mayor Billy Barlow requested discussion and funding approval for the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse-Exterior Restoration and Painting Project.

The city was awarded $590,000 in 2016 for the EPF LWRP funding toward the $1,180,000 total project that contains five construction related activities as part of the on-going waterfront revitalization efforts, according to Justin Rudgick, economic development director.

One of those activities is restoration of the exterior of the lighthouse, he added.

The city recently prepared and issued bid documents for the restoration and exterior painting of the Port City landmark.

The project is reimbursable in the amount of $175,000 from EPF LWRP and the SAM grant through DASNY, Rudgick pointed out.

Based on the received and awarded bid from P.S. Bruckel, Inc., the total project cost is estimated at $225,600.

The project will include Scope One: the sealing, restoration and painting of the lighthouse roof and Scope Two, which deals with the other areas of the lighthouse.

“We are requesting a budget amendment to the 2018 city of Oswego Operating Budget to cover the total project cost to initiate commencement as soon as possible with completion before the end of this year,” Rudgick said. “This is one project activity that will be removed from the larger bond financing that was previously discussed and approved.”

“This is an exciting bit of progress news. The possibility of having this done this fall is just so fantastic,” said Mercedes Niess, executive director of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum.

She described the lighthouse as Oswego’s “shinning star.”

This past weekend, Oswego was part of the Lighthouse Challenge.

Bus loads of lighthouse enthusiasts traveled east and west to view the region’s lighthouses.

Many of them toured the Oswego lighthouse.

“I’ll tell you where these people came from; New Jersey, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, Michigan, Virginia, California, Maine and Pennsylvania (as well as all over CNY). We had a gentleman, originally from Shri Lanka, who came here from Washington, DC, – he took two trains to get here and from Syracuse, he took a bus to make it to this trip,” she said. “So, this is the potential of what our community can have. And, these folk stay in (our) hotels and they spend money here. They come from out of town to enjoy our community. And I have to tell you – they were absolutely thrilled and impressed with what we had to offer.”

The lighthouse restoration process is “an exciting step in the right direction,” she added.

The full council will now consider the request at its next meeting.


  1. Oswego needs all the tourism sites it can get. With lower industry in the area, we have to rely on tourist dollars to help defray taxes in the region.

    For those of us who believe our lake and river front areas are THE areas to develop, nothing is more important than our lighthouse. With the advent of the open house tours, and more visitors each summer season, we need our lovely lighthouse to get dressed up. NOTHING does that better than a coat of paint (as the Renaissance Association will tell you about all the paint and decorations that go into their projects!). When the Lighthouse is completed we will almost certainly get even MORE visitors! And all the businesses in the community will be able to add to tax dollars and tax dollars will only help out the property owner. Funny how that works!

  2. People of Oswego wake up. We are not a tourist destination. We have no great attraction like Disney World. I’m writing this as I’m traveling in Canada to true tourist destinations. When people here ask where I’m from they say Where??? Yup they never heard of Oswego yet, if I mention Toronto, New York City, Chicago,etc ow they’re tourist destination. Painting the light house isn’t going to bring tourist here. What are the painters going to do with all the lead pair that has been put on it for years. I was in the Navy and we used a paint litterly called red lead,to prevent rusting. Will this end up in the lake when the existing paint is scraped off??? Think about it….

  3. re: Joe…Did any paint end up in the Oswego river when they painted the bridges? Comparing Oswego to Toronto, NYC, and Chicago isn’t a valid comparison,…uh, at least as far as tourists detinations go!
    I don’t think a nice coat of fresh paint ever really hurts anything as far as asthethics are concerned, and by basically comparing the size of of the light house to the underside of a battleship seems equally as absurd.
    Consider also, that NOT painting the lighthouse, or cleaning/painting and repairing city streets, parks, and other structures isn’t going to bring in any tourists either. Think about that for a moment. You can either have a city that looks like someone cares about it, or one that doesn’t. If you’re worried about a few paint chips falling into Lake Ontario, take a closer look under some old bridges sometime, or rusty old train cars rolling down the tracks. It’s not the end of the world if a few chips fall off.

  4. re: Joe….One more thought. If the lighthouse didn’t get painted, and the flaking paint continues to get even worse over time, where exactly do you think those paint chips are going to end up? As I see it, anything that gets painted, demolished, burned, or disposed of ends up in one of three places eventually…the ground, the water, or the atmosphere. There’s just no way around it, unless you want to ship it all into outer space and classify it as more space junk.

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