Swan's Island, Maine   44˚8'3.49"N 68˚26' 50.44"W

LIGHTHOUSE CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

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Plans for summer 2014 at Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station

This year, the Town is ready to make major progress on the light station restoration. Two grants received over the winter assured that funds are available to make a good start on the tower, and funds from several generous gifts will enable extensive work on the keeper’s house.

One major issue is removal of hazardous materials (hazmats) from the light station buildings. The hazmats include lead paint (in all four buildings), and asbestos tiles and black mold (primarily in the keeper’s house). In the light tower, removal of lead paint and rust would be combined with other tasks to restore the interior of the tower.

The Lighthouse Committee had hoped to get all these tasks accomplished through a single contract this spring, but the plan fell apart when we received only one bid, and that substantially greater than the professional estimates that we had been relying on (and on which our budget was based).

So – back to the drawing board. As to the tower, the Committee has concluded that the better way to start is to issue a base bid request for a smaller component of the project with the option of the contractor doing other alternate tasks through contract modifications once on the job.   It may take a little longer (and the work will not start this spring), but in the end we believe it will give us a wider choice of contractors, better cost control and allow closer monitoring of the work.  

As to the keeper’s house, we will focus first this summer on completing the downstairs rooms. This will include installation of kitchen facilities (in the old kitchen area) and bathroom facilities (in the closed off area to the left of the main entrance). Another task that must be done this year is to improve ventilation through installation of roof and soffit vents. Structural strengthening of the oceanside porch is also on the agenda.

There are two other construction or restoration tasks that we expect to complete this summer. The first is moving the fog bell from its present location near the ferry terminal back to Hockamock Head. It will be placed on a simple granite base in the area near the electrical meter, with appropriate landscaping and an explanatory plaque. The second is replacing the flagpole, which was shattered in a winter storm. Hinckley Yachts has promised the gift of an appropriate mast for that purpose, and we are presently working on arrangements to have it transported from Rhode Island to Swan’s Island.

As always, the Committee prefers to have Swan’s Island contractors doing the work at the light station. When local craftsmen are unable to schedule the work, or when skills are needed that are not available on the island, then we use off-island contractors. When we use off-island contractors, we provide them with information about local businesses, room and board, and encourage them to rely as much as possible on those services that are available on the island.