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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Since 1827, a lighthouse has stood at the top of the Warwick Neck peninsula, helping guide ships through Narragansett Bay.
“It’s like the jewel of Warwick,” Mayor Frank Picozzi said.
Now, thanks to technology like GPS, lighthouses aren’t essential navigation tools. That’s why the federal government is looking for someone to take them off their hands.
The historic structure is one of six lighthouses across the country that the United States General Services Administration is giving away, but there’s a catch.
The offer is only available to certain entities, such as a local government or nonprofit organization. The entity selected would assume all responsibilities for the lighthouse, including maintaining it and opening it to the public.
Picozzi said the city is interested in acquiring the lighthouse, which has been closed for years.
“Hopefully, we’d be the ones to get it because this would be Warwick’s forever,” he said.
Unlike the Conimicut Lighthouse, which sits in the middle of Narragansett Bay and costs the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain, the Warwick Neck Lighthouse is nestled along the shore.
“This one, you put up a ladder and you paint it,” Picozzi said. “It needs some touch-up maintenance right now, but nothing back-breaking.”
Those who live along Warwick Neck Avenue tell 12 News that the lighthouse attracts its fair share of visitors.
“When you come into Rhode Island, they tell you where all of the lighthouses are,” Brian Mazmanian said. “So, people come down with their maps and they take pictures. It’s a pretty popular area.”
Tom Mihalko, who lives nearby, said he’s worried by the thought of more visitors coming to see the lighthouse.
“I think it’s such a beautiful place, and I think it should be savored,” he said. “My only concern is the additional traffic and parking, because there’s only one way in and one way out.”
Mazmanian described the Warwick Neck Lighthouse as important, “…in the history of the state and what its function was.”
“I don’t think it should be closed down,” he said. “I’d like to find some reasonable way to make it accessible.”
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Picozzi said the Warwick Neck Improvement Association is also interested in acquiring the lighthouse. 12 News reached out to the organization but has not yet heard back.
The General Services Administration has been giving away lighthouses for more than two decades through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. The goal is to protect the history and heritage of lighthouses across the country.
Entities interested in submitting a letter of interest for the lighthouse must do so before July 14.
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