LANSING, Mich. (WZMQ) – It was announced on Friday that two Upper Peninsula lighthouses will be getting funding for rehabilitation projects from the State of Michigan.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that two historic Michigan lighthouses will make progress on long-term preservation efforts with the help of $106,000 in Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grants from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The lighthouses receiving grants are the Rock of Ages Lighthouse and the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, both are located in the U.P. On average, every $1 invested in land conservation leads to $4 in economic benefits for families, small businesses, and local communities.
“The historic lighthouses lining our freshwater shoreline—the longest in the world—are part of the splendor of Pure Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am proud that we are making an investment today to preserve these structures, reminding us of our past and encouraging us to move towards the light.”
“We’re proud to help Michiganders across the state preserve the historic lighthouses that beautify and enrich our state’s shorelines,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “We’re making government work for everyone by providing convenient and efficient services that meet the needs of all Michiganders and our state’s historic treasures.”
“Michigan’s historic lighthouses endure harsh weather, year after year. These icons on our shorelines require constant maintenance and attention,” said Michigan’s Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Martha MacFarlane-Faes. “Our lighthouse preservation grants help repair and restore these beacons, so they can connect us with our maritime heritage for years to come.”
The Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society will be awarded $46,000 from the grants for the Rock of Ages Lighthouse, with the society matching $23,000. The funds will be used to hire a contractor to rehabilitate the lighthouse by cleaning and painting the exterior. It was last painted in 1985.
The Keweenaw Historical Society was also awarded funds from the grants, totaling $60,000, and matching $39,000 on work to be done on the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse. The funds will be used for various restoration projects such as replacing deteriorating bricks, repairing damaged plaster on the interior, roof and wall water diversion, and deck and lantern room repair.
Funding for this program comes solely from the sale of specialty Save Our Lights license plates available from the Michigan Secretary of State. To date, the Michigan SHPO has awarded nearly $2.9 million in matching funds to help rehabilitate and preserve lighthouses for tourists and residents alike to explore and appreciate.
“Michigan’s iconic lighthouses offer something for every traveler – from lighthouse enthusiasts, to history buffs, to curious tourists looking to get out there and experience one of Pure Michigan’s hidden gems,” said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the state’s official agency for the promotion of tourism. “Programs like the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program are extremely important in supporting our tourism efforts across the state, and we’re pleased that these three one-of-a-kind coastal treasures will soon be restored for all to enjoy.”
“I would like to thank both MEDC and SHPO for their continued support of these historic lighthouses which will help maintain and preserve them into the next generation,” said State Rep. Greg Markkanen (R-Hancock).
Governor Whitmer understands the health of our economy is inextricably linked to the health of our people and our planet. She will work with anyone to protect clean air and water and face climate change head-on while creating good-paying jobs for Michiganders.