2007-02-22 / Letters to the Editor

Lighthouse meant for education

I am responding to your Feb. 15 editorial on proposing a B&B for Beavertail.

For your information, it is the U.S. National Park Service who act as administrators of the "US National Lighthouse Historic Preservation Act."

It is they who turn over excess government-owned lighthouses and property to candidates, based on the new owner providing maximum use for public education and preserving the historic structures.

Your proposed use is exactly what the "Preservation Act" wants to prohibit. These properties are not to be used as "economic revenue generating engines." The act encourages the contrary. Historical preservation, education and maximum use by the public comes first.

The planned expansion of the present small museum into the first floor of the keeper's quarters meets this requirement to benefit the general public to better understand the historic aspects of the lighthouse, other lighthouses in Narragansett Bay, and the contribution Beavertail has made to our military defenses.

Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association's (BLMA) plan for the future does indeed consider a "Lighthouse Living Experience" program coupled with a work requirement in the second floor quarters of the keeper's house. The revenue generation from short-term rentals will all go back into site maintenance and defraying preservation and educational expenses. The present condition of structures at Beavertail are not as pristine as the may appear. Much has been neglected and much requires attention. Estimated restoration, preservation and stabilization expenses now approach $500,000. Museum expansion may require even more.

Solving the affordable housing dilemma in Jamestown by converting the lighthouse to B&B's, denying access to these public structures, and diverting preservation revenue is not smart thinking.

Varoujan Karentz,

2 Clarke Village

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