SEA ISLE CITY — Trying to avoid demolition of the city’s former lighthouse in September, a trustee of Friends of the Ludlam Beach Lighthouse pleaded with City Council on Tuesday for last-minute funding.
Genevieve Doris asked the city to allocate $100,000 “seed money” to move and place the structure, a privately owned summer rental at 3414 Landis Ave.
“Please give us a chance,” said Doris, of Dennis Township, formerly of Sea Isle City.
In 2009, City Council designated a temporary location for the building at a vacant lot in the northern end of the city. But the city has not provided any funding for the group’s effort.
The former lighthouse, now a six-unit summer rental, has no light and does not look like a lighthouse. It was built by the federal government in 1885, decommissioned in 1924 and moved. It has been a private residence since.
Charles Adams, who has owned the building since 1983, notified the city in July of his plans to rebuild at the site and his timeline.
“Any part of the building remaining after September 20, 2010 will be demolished and trucked to a landfill,” he wrote.
Adams has offered to donate the building if someone wants to move it.
City Council had considered including $100,000 in a budget earlier this year but decided against the funding due to budget cuts and uncertainty about future costs and responsibilities for the structure.
Several council members at Tuesday’s City Council meeting questioned the group’s projections of costs, saying their estimates to move the former lighthouse, install piling and acquire state environmental permits were unrealistically low.
Councilman Frank Edwardi Jr. said he could not support using taxpayer money without a firmer estimate of costs.
“They’d hang me by my feet from City Hall,” he said.
“We’ve done our due diligence. We’ve done everything we can except give you money,” he said.
“We need concrete information to be able to spend the tax dollars of the people of Sea Isle City. Without the concrete information, our hands are tied,” Councilman William Kehner said.
Friends of the Ludlam Beach Lighthouse founder Bob Uhrmann was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.
Doris said Sea Isle City would be making a big mistake if it allowed the former lighthouse to be demolished. The lighthouse could become a big draw, like the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in North Wildwood, she said.
The Ludlam Beach Lighthouse was a stop on the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge in 2009, despite an October storm that flooded much of the city.
“We had over 1,000 people tread through water just to see it,” Doris said. “The interest is there.”
The Friends of the Ludlam Beach Lighthouse have said they were considering multiple ways to save the structure, including potentially finding a place for it outside of Sea Isle City.
Contact Brian Ianieri: