Lighthouse to close as move process begins

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM.

“The bad news is that the lighthouse has to be closed to the public,” Magidson said. “It is unfortunate but unavoidable.”

He added that as long as the Air Force owns the lighthouse and grounds – there is a lease arrangement involving the county and the St. Joseph Historical Society – the Air Force was bound by law to protect the keepers’ quarters, oil house and lighthouse.

After Hurricane Isaac brought heavy wave action and erosion to the Cape and St. Joseph Peninsula, the lighthouse grounds have come under increasing threat from the shoreline, which is now less than 50 feet from the keepers’ quarters and oil house.

The lighthouse, sitting well back on the property, is believed “fairly safe” for now, Magidson said.

The county, administrator Don Butler said earlier in the week, has already begun the process through the General Services Administration of taking formal possession of the buildings on the lighthouse grounds.

The Air Force has declared the property surplus and the GSA is moving through the red tape of offering the property to qualified applicants – the city and county being the preferred entity for disposition of the land and lighthouse.

The estimated cost to move the lighthouse is over $300,000 and the fundraising by the Historical Society – including pledges from the Port St. Joe Redevelopment Agency and Florida Lighthouse Association - has thus far brought in nearly $80,000.

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