Digest>Archives> August 2002

Ownership of St. Augustine Lighthouse to be Transferred


St. Augustine, FL - The St. Augustine Lighthouse is making history as one of the two first lighthouses in the United States to be turned over from the federal government to a local non-profit organization. The official announcement was made on Monday, June 10 at 11 a.m., by the United States Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, at a ceremony in Tybee Island, Ga. The St. Augustine and Tybee Island towers are the first two lighthouses selected to receive this honor.

“This is a really wonderful occasion, because for the first time we can plan for the future,” said Kathy Fleming, executive director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Inc. “It doesn’t really change what we’re doing in terms of expenses,” Fleming added. “But it does change the understanding that we are the ones actually taking care of the tower.”

Ownership of the St. Augustine Lighthouse is being officially transferred to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Inc. - a non-profit corporation - as part of the pilot program of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (NHLPA). Under the NHLPA, the federal government offered certain lighthouses throughout the country to federal, state and local agencies, non-profit corporations, educational agencies and community development agencies for educational, recreational, cultural or historic preservation purposes.

In-depth applications to obtain ownership of the lighthouses were required of all interested organizations. The applications were read in May by a committee in Washington, D.C. The Special Assistant to the Director of the National Park Service, P. Daniel Smith, told Fleming that the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Inc.’s application was “outstanding” and “truly an amazing document to read and appreciate.”

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Inc., Fleming expressed her thanks to the Junior Service League of St. Augustine, Inc., the City of St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Environmental Services, Inc., and in particular to John Kelly and LeRay McBay of the General Services Administration and Captain Larry Jaeger of the United States Coast Guard Seventh District, Miami, for all of their support during the application process.

The NHLPA is a result of the cooperation of a number of federal agencies, including but not limited to: The United States Coast Guard, the General Services Administration and the Department of the Interior including the National Park Service and the National Maritime Initiative.

This story appeared in the August 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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