Progress on moving the Cape San Blas lighthouse continues to creep along.
At Tuesday’s meeting Port St. Joe Commissioners awarded the bid to GAC Contracting to relocate both the lighthouse and keeper’s quarters, which will come with a price tag of $510,450.
GAC provided the lowest combined bid and Mayor Mel Magidson explained the importance of moving both structures simultaneously and the difficulties that may arise from trying to coordinate separate contractors for the project.
Magidson said that transporting the buildings by land would require a convoy to take down power lines ahead of the lighthouse and then raise them back up immediately so area residents aren’t without power for an extended period of time. At previous meetings the cost of raising and lowering the power lines estimated at $170,000.
“There are lots of moving parts, but that’s a critical aspect,” said Magidson. “Of course, this is contingent upon having every dollar that we need.”
Magidson said that there was an appropriation under a historical preservation grant that was currently being discussed by the legislature, which is currently in session. He made it clear that he did not intend to use money from the city’s budget for the project.
“I have committed from day one that no money from the budget would be spent on the project,” said Magidson.
Commissioner Rex Buzzett supported awarding the bid to GAC and recommended using BP money and recently received Duke Energy funds for the move.
“It’s almost like money from Heaven,” said Buzzett. “It’s found money…it’s not money that we expected at all.
“Nobody will miss that money.”
Magidson also suggested that another source of funding could come from PSJRA funds since the organization’s fiscal year aligns with the city.
Commissioner William Thursbay said he promised citizens not to spend money for the project out of the general or BP funds and intended to keep his word.
Commissioners Bo Patterson and Phil McCroan also wanted to take the BP funds off the table.
A motion by Buzzett to award the bid without contingencies was passed unanimously.