State Capitol, Albany, New York, August 21, 2006-- State Senator Owen H. Johnson (4th Senate District, Babylon), Chairman of the Finance Committee, recently presented a check for $400,000 to the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, Inc., which represents state funding he secured on their behalf as part of this year’s state budget. The funding will help the society in their effort to reconstruct the 1890 Electric Generator Building, which was located adjacent to the Fire Island Lighthouse. The new building will provide a structure where the original 1858 First Order Fresnel lens, that was removed from the Lighthouse in 1933, can ultimately be displayed as a historic artifact and maritime educational aid. The light had previously been displayed in the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and is now in storage there.
"The Preservation Society has done a tremendous job restoring and improving the Fire Island Lighthouse," said Senator Johnson. "To bring home the original Fresnel lens that was once atop the Fire Island Lighthouse is a very exciting project that will add immensely to the positive experience of visitors to the lighthouse while helping preserve Long Island’s rich nautical history. I'm pleased that I was able to secure a grant to aid in this very worthwhile endeavor and very much look forward to seeing it complete."
Senator Johnson explained that the construction of the Electric Generator Building is the critical first step in bringing the First Order Fresnel Lens back to the Lighthouse as the fragile lens must be displayed in an area that is protected from environmental conditions and be secured from vandalism. Additionally, Senator Johnson’s grant represents a portion of the total project cost and the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society plans to embark upon a fundraising campaign to raise the additional funding that will be needed to complete the project.
Pictured, from left to right, are: William Dempsey, Treasurer; Paul Pugliese, Second-Vice President; Geraldine Sheridan, Second-Vice President; Senator Owen H. Johnson; Thomas F. Roberts III, President; Elizabeth Benham-Herman, Member of the Board of Directors.