The Whiskey Point Restoration
Dick Moehl, President of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers
Association, met with the St. James Township Supervisor, members
of the Historical Societys Board and staff, and the public
on June 25th, to talk about forming a partnership to create and
maintain a public historic maritime site at Whiskey Point. He
talked about what GLLKA has accomplished with the St. Helena Light
Station and the Round Island Lighthouse near Mackinac Island.
Although GLLKA would like to own the Whiskey Point Light, he would
be satisfied to contract with its likely owner, St. James Township,
to restore the Keepers House (identical to the one built
at Point Betsey, for which he has the original plans) and maintain
it as an authentic tourist attraction.
Dick Moehl is an energetic volunteer facilitator who has dedicated
much of his life to projects like this. He was introduced to the
manager of a family foundation who wanted to do something significant
to preserve Michigans nautical heritage, and immediately
thought of the Whiskey Point Boathouse, currently up for sale,
and how it would be a perfect base for the Great Lakes Research
Station CMU would like to establish. That is now in the works;
his informal master plan is for GLLKA to guide and control the
restoration of the entire Point, including the current Town Hallhe
sees no reason, though, why it could not continue to function
in its present manner.
Because of his experience, he feels he could play an important
role in obtaining the funding this vast project would require.
Another tool he brings to the table is his ability to acquire
volunteers help from various organizationshes been
particularly successful getting the Boy Scouts involved. Hes
well-connected to important politicians as well, and has a good
record of receiving grants.
After his presentation, Supervisor Don Vyse said his offer was
attractive because everyone agreed that the Light had to be saved
but no one had yet offered an idea how this might be funded and
accomplished. Dick Moehl will appear at the next St. James Town
Board meeting to pursue his idea.
June 9th Election Results
Linda McDonough and John Fiegen were re-elected to the School
Board for four-year terms. And the school operating millage (Headlee
rollback) passed with 118 votes for and 27 votes against.
On June 27th two dozen people gathered at the Old Rectory to
see who would be the top bidder in an auction to take over the
defunct restaurant. Despite the interest, there was only one registered
bidder, so the auctioneer announced there would be no auction
and that bidder could negotiate with the seller on a price. Everyone
Not quite everyone, as it turned out. Keith Albin and Bud Martin
decided to register. A half hour later, the auction was held,
this time without the audience. The original registered bidder
was Bob and Sue Welke, whose grandson just graduated from Cordon
Bleu cooking school. He opened the bidding, but the two new bidders
quickly took over the action. Albin thought the Rectory could
become the location for his long-planned bowling alley, whereas
Martin wanted a business that might bring his oldest daughter
back to Beaver Island to run. The bidding was intense, and when
the smoke cleared Martin had made the highest bid.
What happens next remains unclear. As the news swept through
town some thought that questions of title, of reacquiring the
liquor license, of unpaid taxes and bills, of replacing obsolete
equipment, and of fixing the roof would be insurmountable.
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