Bodie Island Lighthouse needs
more funds to
BY SANDY SEMANS
future is not looking good for completion of the repairs needed for
Bodie Island Lighthouse so that the historic structure can once again
be opened to the public.
A massive restoration project was begun in December, 2009, but while
approximately 85 percent of the contracted work has been finished,
additional structural integrity issues were discovered after workers
removed paint and corrosion buildup. A structural assessment has
determined the full extent of the additional damage, which includes
problems with framing, lantern beam supports, masonry and stitching,
and steel drum and belt course segments located at the top of the
The additional work is estimated to cost about $1.6 million more than
the $3.09 million appropriated for the project in 2009.
Also in 2009, Congress appropriated $6.7 million in a different line
item to renovate the park's administration building/office complex and
visitor center at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. That project is
under budget and the leftover funds could be used to finish the
lighthouse project, but language prohibiting the transfer of funds to
another project was inserted in the appropriation line item.
The only two options for funding the additional work would be for
Congress to grant relief from the prohibition of transferring the
leftover money or wait until 2012 and hope that at that time a new
appropriation is made.
Members of Congress trying to find a solution to the problem are not
"Senator Hagan is working with Senator [Richard] Burr and Congressmen
[Walter] Jones and [David] Price to identify a legislative fix," said
Sadie Weiner, Hagan's press secretary. "She will be working with her
colleagues who sit on the Appropriations
Committee to include language that would address this problem at the
Joshua Bowlen of Rep. Jones office agreed that a legislative fix is the
only option. "There is no statutory flexibility so we need a change in
the law to allow the leeway needed."
If the current contractor finishes what is feasible under the
circumstances by the anticipated date in March and the scaffolding,
safety building and fencing is removed, the cost to reassemble them at
a later date will significantly increase the cost as much as $500,000.
"This is one of those unfortunate circumstances where taxpayers will
lose because demobilization and remobilization costs are large," said
Language has been provided to the Appropriations Committee in hopes
that the members will consider including it in the budget. And then the
question becomes whether, if placed in the budget, it will be in the
continuing resolution set to be voted on in March or in the next full
year budget. The first might just fix the problem for a few weeks, the
other for the next year.
In a year when earmarks have been taken off the table by the
Congressional leadership as well as the administration, it is unclear
what sort of reception the proposed language change will receive.
But one thing is certain, said Bowlen. "In this situation, time is not
Semans is editor of The Outer Banks Sentinel, where this story first
appeared. For more Outer Banks news in the Sentinel, go to http://obsentinel.womacknewspapers.com/)