The Bodie Island Lighthouse might not be lit anytime soon. The National Park Service received about 3 million dollars in 2009 to renovate the structure built in 1872. Mike Murray is Park Manager of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
"It makes sense to finish the work that’s been done. Repairs are 85% complete. But because we encountered unforeseen work in a very old structure that had never been renovated before, we don’t have the amount of funding needed to finish it."
Workers found cracks in the support structure that needed to be repaired before visitors could climb up. Murray says work might wrap up unfinished in March unless they can find additional funds. The lighthouse would remain closed and nonfunctional until the renovation is completed.
"I have to say anytime you look at a lighthouse you just want to climb it. And we get 2.2 million visitors a year, and most of them drive within viewing distance of Bodie Island Lighthouse, so it would be a tremendous experience to be able to climb it, look out across the coast and towards the ocean or the sound and just get that experience."
Murray says the Park received funding for another project in 2009 that came in under budget, and he’s hoping to be able to transfer those funds into the Bodie Island Project. But it would need approval from Congress to bypass language in the appropriations bill prohibiting the transfer of those funds. And he says the project will become more expensive if the work has to be stopped because the giant scaffolding surrounding the lighthouse would have to be removed and then be rebuilt later.