SAKONNET AREA — Friends of the Sakonnet Light and the Aquidneck Island Land Trust are among the dozen winners of this year's Rhody Awards.
Given by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) from nominations by the public, Rhodys honor individuals, organizations, and projects for their contributions to the preservation of Rhode Island’s historic places.
Friends of the Sakonnet Light, the group that restored the Little Compton lighthouse and relit it in 1996, faced a daunting challenge.
"After 125 years, the lighthouse required significant structural repair," The Rhody citation says. "The Friends of Sakonnet Light secured more than $800,000 in federal Transportation Enhancement Funds matched by almost as much in private donations. Staging the project on a small rocky outcrop offshore and seeing it through in the brief time between winter and hurricane season posed a significant challenge. Structures North Consulting Engineers and Joseph Gnazzo Company led the team of consultants and contractors. Work included cleaning, galvanizing, and repainting surfaces; replacing hardware; repairing cast-iron wall and floor plates; installing new windows, frames, and portholes; and reinstalling the historic brick lining. Newly refurbished, Sakonnet Light will continue to mark the coastline for another century."
The Aquidneck Land Trust was chosen for its work to make beautiful Ocean Drive in Newport even more stunning.
"Until recently, much of the view was marred by unsightly utility poles and lines," the award citation says. "A privately funded initiative completed two years ago removed 22 obtrusive overhead utility poles and overhead wires strung along the waterfront; however, 14 more remained. Removal of the remaining poles seemed a perfect project for the Aquidneck Island Land Trust’s Newport Conservation Initiative.
The Land Trust hired Fields of Dreams Tree Farm & Landscaping to coordinate the work in cooperation with local landowners and representatives utility companies, and the work was completed in 2012.
The Rhody Awards event is open to the public and features local beverages, appetizers, a silent auction, and a raffle. Tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door. To buy a ticket or request more information, call (401) 272-5101 or visit www.preserveri.org.