Volunteers pitch in to keep lighthouse shining

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BRIGANTINE - Since it was built in 1926, the Brigantine Lighthouse has become a unique local landmark, but its age was beginning to show even before Superstorm Sandy hit. After the entire lighthouse circle was under water, with wind damage weathering the building even more, it was obvious that rehabilitation would take widespread work.

An estimated amount to repair the structure was more than $50,000 – far more than the city could cover by itself. City Engineer Ed Stinson, along with John Doring and Ernie Purdy of Public Works, talked with many local contractors and builders about the project. After discussing the necessary repairs, it became surprisingly obvious that business owners were willing to volunteer their work, time, money and materials.

“This started with a meeting at the site with Public Works and some local builders to discuss the scope of work required for an RFP (request for proposal) that I was preparing so that we could publically bid the project,” Stinson said. “All the builders at the meeting asked why we were going to go out for bid, and suggested that they could do the work as volunteers.”

The companies who have volunteered to assist with the lighthouse are as follows:

Mase Construction will do the demolishing and frame deck, also providing lifts for all other work.

Boardwalk Builders will replace the roof, siding and soffit.

Hannan Builders will replace the windows and two entrance doors on the first floor.

Jerzey Pro will replace the fiberglass and balcony trim.

The Fence Man will repair the deck railing. Hart Painting will do the exterior painting.

Allison Paul Construction, Unique Building, Ferguson Construction Oceanside Construction, Coast Construction and Brindisi Construction will handle the interior repairs.

Chestnut Run Excavating will provide additional lifts for the exterior repairs.

“Some of the builders [who] volunteered to do the work at the lighthouse also suffered damage to their homes,” Stinson noted.

With many of these builders focusing on other Sandy-related damage around the island, the only down side to the volunteer work is that it is being done piece by piece as the workers are able. However, the renovation is scheduled to be completed sometime in November.

The last time major restorations were done on the lighthouse, also done by volunteers, was in 1995.

This time around, the generosity of our local contractors and builders serves as another example of the Brigantine community coming together to get through the aftermath of Sandy, allowing the lighthouse to stand and shine even brighter than before as an emblem of our island and the city it represents.

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