MV Gazette, on June 4th, 2013

Transfer of Gay Head Light Expected in August

Town is seeking to take ownership of historic light and relocate it due to erosion. Timothy Johnson

The General Services Agency plans to list the Gay Head Light as excess property this summer and begin the transfer of ownership process, an agency spokesperson said Monday.

The notice of availability is expected to be posted by the General Services Agency on August 1, New England public affairs officer Patrick Sclafani said. The notice will allow the town of Aquinnah, another municipal group or nonprofit organization to apply for ownership of the property. The transfer would come at no cost.

The town has been preparing for the designation and planning to relocate the tower, which must be moved due to rapid erosion along the Gay Head Cliffs. Voters backed the acquisition and move of the lighthouse at a special town meeting in February.

The U.S. Coast Guard must declare the lighthouse as excess property before the General Services Agency can proceed, but the agency has not received that report yet, Mr. Sclafini said. The designation is the first step in the transfer process under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Under the legislation, the General Services Agency is allowed to transfer ownership of up to 12 lighthouses across the country each year that are no longer deemed “mission critical” to the Coast Guard. The lighthouses are offered to local governments, nonprofits or community organizations before being put out to bid for private ownership.

A total of seven lighthouses were included in a May 15 announcement, and were largely restricted to the Great Lakes Region. The Gay Head Light was pushed off until August, Mr. Sclafini said. It will be the eighth lighthouse of the year and will be the only tower to be a part of the Aug. 1 announcement, Mr. Sclafani said.

Mr. Sclafani said a site visit with the Coast Guard and General Services Agency will be scheduled about a month after the announcement for prospective stewards.

by Remy Tumin

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