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New video highlights lighthouse restoration

A new film by local videographer Nick James is about the restoration of the historic Port Clinton lighthouse. The video, which run just over five minutes in length, features interviews with Conservancy board members and volunteers, accompanied by footage of the restoration work and historical still photos. The film, which James produced in only three days, was conceived as a trailer for a larger documentary about the history, restoration, and return of the Port Clinton lighthouse to the Lake Erie waterfront.

Members of the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy, aided by a team of dedicated volunteers, meticulously restored the lighthouse after it sat alongside the Portage River for over 60 years. James was editor for the Peter Huston film, “The Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial Documentary”, which has been nominated for a 45th Annual Lower Great Lakes Emmy Award. 

The Conservancy showed the video at its booth at the Walleye Festival over Memorial Day Weekend. The film, entitled “Port Clinton Lighthouse Restoration”, can be seen on YouTube and on the Conservancy’s Facebook page. 

The Conservancy received approval from the city last fall to place the restored lighthouse in the Water Works Park north of the Derby Pond. However, the move is stalled pending issuance of a submerged land lease from the ODNR’s Office of Coastal Management for the strip of land on which the lighthouse will be placed. 

In December the city council passed a resolution approving the lease and a surveyor with Brunkhorst Engineering Consultants worked closely with the Conservancy to complete the lease application for the city, but city officials have yet to forward the application to the Office of Coastal Management. The approval process by OCM can take up to 90 days once they receive the application. 

“We are hopeful the city will act quickly so that the local business community will reap the benefits of having this historic lighthouse on the waterfront this summer,” explained Conservancy president Rich Norgard. 

The lighthouse was erected in 1896 at the end of the west pier that juts out into the Portage River and for over 30 years guided ships safely into the river. The light was converted from oil to electricity1926. In November 1952 the lighthouse was removed from the pier and taken to present day Brands’ Marina, where it stood for over sixty years, a familiar sight to boaters moving up and down the Portage River. Last summer it was moved across the river into a boat storage facility so that restoration work could be completed.

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