Work crews with contractor Razorback LLC arrived on June 17 to begin a rehabilitation project on the Sanibel Lighthouse.
Razorback submitted the low bid on the project of $269,563, which was approved by City Council in May. The city had budgeted $300,000 for the project from its beach parking fund and also received a $50,000 state historic preservation grant from the Florida Division of Historical Resources, reducing the city's portion to $219,563.
The road leading to the lighthouse will be closed during the project from the fishing pier parking lot to the lighthouse. Work is expected to continue through September.
Sanibel's Lighthouse will undergo an exterior rehabilitation project that is expected to last through the end of September.
According to Public Works director Keith Williams Razorback LLC will replace sections of deteriorated steel on the exterior of the structure before sanding and painting the exterior steel exposed to the elements. The two keeper cottages on the site are not included as part of this project.
Constructed in 1884 on Sanibel's eastern point as the first lighthouse on Florida's Gulf Coast north of Key West and the Dry Tortugas, it marks the entrance to San Carlos Bay for ships calling at the port of Punta Rassa across the bay from Sanibel Island. The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and the Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management turned the property over to the city of Sanibel in April 2010.
The exterior of the lighthouse was last cleaned and painted in the 1990s.
A consulting engineering firm was hired to prepare plans for the rehabilitation project before competitive bids were sought. In all, 11 contractors submitted bids for the project with the highest bid coming in at more than $600,000.