Lighthouse island gets some TLC
HUNTSVILLE – A Huntsville landmark is getting some much-needed attention.
The small island at Blackburn’s Landing in downtown Huntsville is being stabilized and repaired thanks to a private donation and a little financial help from the Town of Huntsville.
David Saunders, executive director of public infrastructure, said the town chipped in $1,000 from a repair and maintenance budget to help with the project. Saunders said he spoke with the town’s chief administrative officer and manager of parks and cemeteries before making the decision to help fund the project.
Construction crews are driving a pile into the riverbed to support the island, which was previously floating and tilting precariously into the water.
The island is home to a miniature white and red lighthouse in the summer.
But Huntsville Mayor Claude Doughty questioned Saunders during a town council meeting as to why the town was funding repairs when the island is provincial property.
“How do we square with the fact that it’s not ours and we’re spending money on it?” asked Doughty. “We don’t repair and maintenance assets that aren’t ours.”
Saunders, who started with the town in January, said he was not aware the island was provincial property until after the reconstruction work began.
He also noted the historical aspect of the island and its importance relating to the cultural heritage of the town. He suggested the central location of the previously dilapidated island also played a role in staff’s decision.
Coun. John Davis said there were a number of community members who see the island as culturally significant to the town and asked whether the town should look into purchasing the island from the province. Davis also said he would be willing to raise the $1,000 to offset what the town spent if it was going to be an issue.