‘Beacon’ of LI pride, tourism: Shoreline protection project to begin at Montauk Point Lighthouse

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Clayton Guse, New York Daily News
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Work gets underway next month on shoreline protection at Montauk’s historic lighthouse, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Sunday.

Built in 1796, the Montauk Point Lighthouse was the first in New York State and is the fourth-oldest active lighthouse in the country. But centuries of erosion have worn away the buffer at the site, leaving the structure less than 100 feet from the seashore. The buffer was 300 feet when it was erected.

Local advocates, state officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have for decades planned to beef up the shoreline at the eastern tip of Long Island to protect the lighthouse, which was designated a national historic landmark in 2012.

A contractor and the Army Corps of Engineers will place 65,000 tons of boulders along the base of Turtle Hill, where the lighthouse sits, protecting it from further erosion. The project, beginning in May, is scheduled to be completed in spring 2023. Its $30.7 million cost will be split by the federal and state governments, with local groups chipping in.

The Montauk Historical Society — which took control of the lighthouse in 1997 — will maintain the shoreline once the work is complete.

“With federal funds en route and construction to start next month, we will restore the shoreline protections needed to keep this beacon of Long Island pride and tourism shining for years to come,” Schumer said. “The illuminating point here is that these federal Army Corps funds made the Montauk Point Lighthouse protection project happen, and they could not come soon enough.”