Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lighthouse Question: Move It or Leave It?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lighthouse Question: Move It or Leave It?

Article excerpt


MAYPORT - An advocate wants to move the historic lighthouse at Mayport Naval Station to a public area in the village, but others call the idea too expensive and difficult.

Charley Knox, a vice president of the Florida Lighthouse Association, outlined his plans at the Mayport Waterfront Partnership meeting Tuesday to move the lighthouse, which was built 150 years ago.

The brick structure is just east of the village, surrounded by security fence at the naval station.

"Our long-term goal is to get the lighthouse open to the people so they can see it," Knox said. "It's probably one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the state."

The association is dedicated to preserving about 30 Florida lighthouses. Knox said the Mayport structure would need about an acre of space in the village and a replica keeper's house and parking lot would need to be built.

Waterfront Partnership Chairman Gary Crumley has suggested moving the lighthouse onto land in Mayport, where it could become a tourist attraction and draw more visitors to the village, which was established in 1562.

But some partnership members are skeptical about moving the towering lighthouse, saying it would require a large mobile platform to remove it from its foundation. That could cost about $800,000, according to a 10-year-old estimate.

Former partnership Chairman David Fisher said the concept has been discussed before and that some village residents don't like it.

"The people who live here really don't want to see that lighthouse moved," said Fisher. "You've got a big step to sell that to the residents."

Partnership board member Homer Hull said it's ultimately up to the Navy to allow any relocation and Navy officials previously have not been receptive.

But even if the lighthouse could be moved into the village, Hull said, he's been in the lighthouse and it's not easily accessible. …

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