Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grants are funded by specialty license plate sales
LANSING, Mich. – (RealEstateRama) — Locals and tourists in South Haven will be able to enjoy a well-maintained historic icon for years to come thanks to a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grant.
The Historical Association of South Haven (HASH) will receive $60,000 to continue its work to preserve and protect the South Pier Light, Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer and State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway announced.
“Growing up in northern Michigan, I have seen firsthand the enthusiasm people have for lighthouses,” Elsenheimer said. “Thanks to Michigan residents who buy specialty lighthouse license plates for their cars, we are able to assist with the preservation of South Haven’s South Pier Light.”
In 2012 ownership of the lighthouse was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to HASH with the stipulation that it be maintained. The society plans to use the funds to hire a contractor to repaint and repair the metal exterior of the lighthouse.
“Lighthouses are an important part of Lake Michigan’s history,” said State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton). “This grant will allow the Historical Association of South Haven to restore the South Pierhead lighthouse so that it may continue to inspire future generations.”
The original wooden lighthouse was constructed in 1872 at the end of the south pier entrance to the Black River. It was replaced by the current steel lighthouse in 1903. The lantern portion is believed to be from the original lighthouse. The catwalk leading out to the lighthouse is one of only four that survive in Michigan.
“The South Pier lighthouse is emblematic of South Haven and has been in need of extensive restoration because of lack of maintenance and corrosion caused by the weather,” said State Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton). “I am happy that this stunning tourist draw will be repaired, and hope it will greet visitors to our area for another century.”
Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grant recipients are chosen annually through a competitive application process and are required to contribute 50 percent of the grant amount as matching funds.
Since 2001 the State Historic Preservation Office has award more than $1.5 million in grants toward the preservation of lighthouses.
“With more than 120 lighthouses along its shorelines and offshore, Michigan could be called the ‘Lighthouse State’ in addition to the Great Lake State. These iconic structures, often located in remote areas, have come to represent Michigan,” Conway said.
Vehicle owners in Michigan can help support the preservation of these maritime structures by purchasing a State of Michigan specialty license plate from the Secretary of State. To learn more about these special license plates, or to purchase one for your vehicle, please visit the license plate store at michigan.gov/sos.
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is financed in part by a grant from the National Park Service, Department of Interior. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on its federally funded assistance programs. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C. St. NW, Washington DC 20240.
The State Historic Preservation Office is part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), which provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.
*MSHDA’s loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.