OSWEGO, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ In May, the city received the title to the 75-year-old West Pierhead Lighthouse.
This afternoon (July 14), Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ursula W. Walther, of the US Coast Guard station, presented Mayor Randy Bateman with the key to the historic landmark.
After several years of waiting, city officials took ownership of the lighthouse.
“We are here today to perform the ceremonial transfer of the key of the West Pierhead Lighthouse to the city of Oswego,” Bateman said.
He thanked the state and federal lawmakers and others for their assistance in the project.
“I accept this transfer on behalf of the residents of the city of Oswego and our many visitors who come here annually to enjoy our waterfront area,” the mayor said.
The value of the property and the $225,000 grant from the New York State Canal Corporation to help with the restoration “Will allow us to begin the process of restoring this treasure,” the mayor continued. “We hope this icon of Oswego’s beautiful waterfront becomes a tourism destination along the Seaway Trail and a gateway to the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor.”
The preservation and restoration of the lighthouse may take up to five years to complete, the mayor said.
Even after that, there likely won’t be any public tours for another five years, said Mary Vanouse, the city’s community development director.
The project will return many dividends of preserving an important piece of Oswego’s heritage that has served as a welcome beacon in Oswego’s harbor for nearly a century, the mayor added.
The mayor recognized Walther. She is transferring to a Coast Guard station in Miami.
He presented her with a certificate of appreciation Ã¢â‚¬â€œ for her cooperative efforts in working with the city, in particular in its effort to secure the title to the lighthouse.
And, he welcomed Chief Boatswains Mate Joseph M. Orlando. The Texas native will become the new commander of the Oswego Coast Guard station Thursday.
“When I first arrived, you we just getting started in efforts to obtain the lighthouse,” Walther told the mayor. “Now here you are taking ownership of it. I can’t wait to come back in a few years and see how beautiful it is.”
“It’s good to have ownership,” the mayor replied.
When the federal General Services Administration announced it wanted to sell the lighthouse (to a public or nonprofit group), city officials decided to work with the H. Lee White Maritime Museum to acquire the landmark, according to Vanouse.
There is a small asbestos problem and the floors need work, she said.
The immediate repairs will be approximately $500,000; the complete renovation will be in the neighborhood of $2 million, Vanouse said, adding the city hopes to receive several grants and donations to defray the over all expense.