Oswego (WSYR-TV) -- The Oswego Lighthouse is getting a much needed makeover. City Council took the first step in a full-scale restoration Monday night. The restoration project is expected to transform the historic landmark into a tourist destination.
“It’s kind of like the Statue of Liberty for the city of New York. It’s something that people identify with the city of Oswego,” said Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen.
The lighthouse was built in 1934 and has been vacant since 1968. Visitors like John Lever from Ontario have noticed.
“Well, it’s a little tarnished, it’s a little aged and I think there’s real opportunity, so I’m really pleased that the community would take that project on,” Lever said.
Thanks to a $225,000 grant from the State Canal Corporation, the historic lighthouse will be fixed up inside, and out.
City Council has awarded a $74,000 contract to have asbestos and lead paint removed. A combination of contractors and volunteers will take care of the rest.
In a year, the city hopes to replace the reported ghosts that lurk inside with living, breathing tourists.
And while the State Canal Corporation took care of the funding, the Coast Guard chipped in as well, donating some floating docks so people can pull their boats up and take a tour. For people without a boat, the city envisions a shuttle service to take care of the rest.
Charter boat captain Tony Buffa says it could be a boost for area businesses.
“Anything that draws more tourism to the city here can only help us. People who wander into the marina walk by, pick up a brochure and if they like what they see, there’s a likelihood that they’ll hop on board with us,” Buffa explained.
It’s a proud symbol of where the city has been and where it’s headed.
Work on the interior of the lighthouse is expected to start within the next few weeks.