A group of volunteers who call themselves the “Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light” started work this weekend to restore and renovate the retired United States Coast Guard Station Building to its original 1930’s state. It is estimated that the effort will cost approximately $500,000 and take several years to complete.
The group originally gathered to get a scope of the project earlier in January where they unveiled a mural that was discovered as paneling was taken down in what will be restored as a radio room. It is intended that the mural, a 44-foot motor lifeboat 44330 on a rescue mission in rough seas on the lake, will be preserved. One of the participants in the evening, Rudy Sloup, retired from the Coast Guard, and actually served on the boat when stationed in Port Huron.
The restoration group championing the project first assembled with a focus to financially support restoration on the oldest lighthouse in Michigan, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. Once that goal was met, the focus shifted to the other historic buildings and the grounds of the park. This created a growing opportunity for volunteers to fulfill their passion by continuing fundraising along with supplying physical labor and guidance in the restoration effort.
The Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light will be holding work parties at the building on Saturdays to complete the work on the former Coast Guard building. More information can be found on the Friends website at Fortgratiotlight.org.
Reporting for WGRT, Karly Hurley.