The St. Augustine Lighthouse is getting a fresh coat of paint this spring.
The project, which includes painting the interior and exterior of the tower and work on the building’s metal stairs and railings, should be finished in about two weeks.
“We paint the outside of the lighthouse every five to six years,” Kathy Fleming, executive director of the lighthouse said, “but this is the first time in about 30 years that we have painted the inside.”
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The project, which is expected to cost more than $880,000, is being funded through an appropriation from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, as well as private donations and funding from the Florida Lighthouse Association, Fleming said. The lighthouse hopes to raise more money to offset some of its costs.
“The museum is still short – about $400,000 – of funding the entire project,” she said. “So we are still working to raise money.”
Painting a 165-foot tall tower that is more than 140 years old is no easy task.
“We are going to use more than 200 gallons of paint on this job,” said Roy Fischer, site foreman for ICC Commonwealth, who is doing the project, “The lighthouse is in great shape, and we are working to keep it that way.”
Work should be complete in 2 weeks
Fischer has done restoration work on more than 30 lighthouses around the country.
After the interior painting is finished, workers will start on the outside of the tower, painting by hand while suspended from the top deck.
“We have swing stages like window washers use. We rig cables and go up and down the outside,” Fischer said. “The painters get a great view.”
Although the tower is closed for the project, the lighthouse keeper’s house museum and other exhibits are still open at the attraction, which gets more than 225,000 visitors a year.
“The tower is going to be beautiful when this is done,” Fleming said. “It will shine over St. Augustine for a very long time to come.”
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This article originally appeared on St. Augustine Record: St. Augustine Lighthouse undergoing $880K interior/exterior renovation