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Sanibel Lighthouse

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Postby Grover1 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:10 am


From Florida Weekly.com

http://www.florida-weekly.com/news/2008 ... s/002.html

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(Florida Weekly Photo)
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Grover1
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Postby Grover1 » Sun May 25, 2008 7:55 pm


From The Naples Daily News

Lighthouse Plate Could Benefit Sanibel Efforts

TALLAHASSEE — Hopes to restore and maintain the lighthouse on Sanibel Island have grown brighter after Gov. Charlie Crist last week approved a measure to use license plate proceeds to preserve the facility and 28 other pieces of Florida history.

With the stroke of a pen, the governor approved a measure to create a license plate to help lighthouse enthusiasts pay some of the upkeep on 29 lighthouses around the state.

Sam Bailey, a life-long Sanibel resident, has spearheaded efforts to maintain the 124-year-old structure. The 84-year-old native said the plate would add another tool to preserve a local landmark.

“I’m very much in favor of it,” Bailey said Wednesday. “Anything people can do to help preserve this property, count us in.”

From Pensacola to the Keys, the structures represent critical pieces of Florida’s maritime past in a time before radar, global positioning satellites and other navigational tools.

Bailey says boaters continue to rely on Sanibel’s 112-foot structure, which casts its beam 98 feet above the water twice every six seconds.

Owners of the special plate will pay $25 extra a year. The money gleaned from the program will help the Florida Lighthouse Association, created in 1996 to preserve facilities that in some cases were crumbling into the sea. The all-volunteer association paid about $75,000 to get the plate up for approval.

“I don’t know if people realize how difficult this was,” said FLA President Stan Farnham, a Naples resident who has headed the group since 2006. “To have the governor finally sign off on this is thrilling.”

The U.S. Coast Guard maintains the lantern itself, but efforts have been under way to transfer oversight of the property to the city of Sanibel in a process going back more than a decade.

In 1995, the Coast Guard granted the use of the property for public recreation to the city, which was then responsible for maintaining the grounds and improvements. The guard would continue to maintain the optic.

Five years later, the Coast Guard put the site on a list of properties that could be turned over to local officials. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management took control and in 2004 accepted a bid by Sanibel to take possession of the lighthouse, pending some environmental clean up. The guard would continue to maintain the light.

In January, the Coast Guard said the transfer of authority could happen by fall.

“We’ve been trying since 2001 to get the entire property turned over the city,” said Gates Castle, Sanibel director of pubic works. “The last we heard it would be the last of September, the first part of October.”

Groups hoping to land a specialty license plate must shell out $60,000 for the application. Next, they have to document that they can sell at least 30,000 plates. That requires a statewide survey that costs about $15,000.

Farnham said the group is one of the few without paid staff or administration. During session, the plate’s fate hung in the balance as lawmakers included it to other more controversial plate ideas that threatened to kill the bill.

In the end, the lighthouse plate joined a trio of others honoring Florida tennis, a nonprofit that helps at-risk youth and “In God We Trust,” a group that provides scholarships for children of U.S. military personnel.

The governor and Cabinet must approve the final design.
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