BEULAH — Needed repairs at the Point Betsie Lighthouse site will move ahead after approval of a bid for a historical structure report of its shoreline protection system.
The job will be awarded to Baird Engineering of Virginia, which submitted the only bid of $45,500. The amount is close to what the Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse were expecting to pay, said Chuck Clarke, treasurer of the group.
Baird has worked with Fleis & VandenBrink, which did a previous study of the lighthouse site, and is also working on a project in Petoskey, Clarke said.
The lighthouse site is owned by Benzie County and the Friends group does the upkeep and management. A request for proposals was sent out in January.
The shoreline protection system, built in 1894, includes two bulkheads, groins, riprap and the concrete apron — all of which likely need work. A widening crack in the apron has been exacerbated by high water levels and will only get worse, the Friends have said.
The report will include an assessment of the site, recommendations, a conceptual plan for restoration of the system and preliminary cost estimates. A contract with the company will be drawn up and brought to the county board for approval at its March 10 meeting, with the study expected to start in mid-March.
Once the study is complete and the project has been given the OK from Army Corps of Engineers, bids will be sought for repairs and upgrades, Clarke said.
It will be done in conjunction with another plan long in the works for the area that includes a turnaround at the end of Point Betsie Road and the addition of sidewalks, parking spaces and a short boardwalk to the beach.
The work is being paid for with funds raised by the group and a $99,335 Coastal Zone Management grant from the Office of the Great Lakes, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Clark said about $1.5 million has been raised so far, leaving the group about $250,000 away from being able to do both projects. The group has said the shoreline system is being given top priority.