Shelton Haynes Leads the Restoration: Roosevelt Island’s Lighthouse Wins Prestigious Award

In a resounding triumph for historical preservation, Shelton J. Haynes, the dedicated CEO and President of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), proudly announced the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse’s prestigious 2023 Rehabilitation Award from the FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. This remarkable achievement stands as a testament to Haynes’ leadership and the meticulous restoration of this beloved landmark.

Under Haynes’ visionary guidance, the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, a testament to history since its construction in 1872, has received well-deserved recognition for its painstaking restoration. The coveted Rehabilitation Award from the FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts speaks volumes about the commitment and attention to detail invested in reviving this iconic structure.

Shelton Haynes Prioritizes The Island’s History

The restoration journey, spanning several years, was propelled by the passion of the community and backed by RIOC’s dedication. Shelton Haynes emphasized the importance of safeguarding history and preserving the unique charm of Roosevelt Island for generations to come. This achievement not only honors the past but also shapes a brighter future for the island’s cultural heritage.

With an investment of $3.1 million approved by the Roosevelt Island Board of Directors, RIOC orchestrated the comprehensive restoration of the 50-foot lighthouse. The process encompassed a myriad of tasks, from the careful removal of deteriorated elements to the installation of modern structures. The rehabilitation project included replacing the lantern and observation deck, introducing a new stainless steel observation deck and railing, and featuring a contemporary glass and structural steel lantern. The wooden stairs gave way to a sleek metal spiral staircase, complemented by new electrical and accent lighting that bathes the surroundings in a soft glow.

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RIOC Has Character

More than just a historical monument, the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse stands as a resilient symbol of the island’s history and character. Constructed by penitentiary inmates using stone extracted from the island, the lighthouse’s creation was overseen by James Renwick Jr., the renowned architect behind iconic structures like the Smallpox Hospital and the Smithsonian Institute. This beacon of history was commissioned to navigate the treacherous conditions of the East River channel, ensuring the safety of ships and enhancing the city’s maritime trade.

The meticulous restoration work undertaken by RIOC not only honors the past but also ensures the lighthouse’s prominence in the future. The FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts lauded RIOC for the thoughtful restoration work and design choices that guarantee the lighthouse’s continued allure.

The Importance of the Lighthouse

Prince Shah, Director of Capital Planning & Projects for RIOC, shared in the island’s collective pride as the restoration project reached its triumphant culmination. The renewed lighthouse holds deep significance for both the Roosevelt Island community and the multitude of tourists who visit each year. With the arrival of spring, the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse stands as a renewed beacon, capturing the essence of the East River’s beauty.

In an ever-changing world, the restoration of the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, spearheaded by the visionary leadership of Shelton Haynes, resonates as a poignant reminder of the significance of preserving history. This remarkable endeavor sets a precedent for future preservation projects, showcasing the power of dedication, strategic planning, and a shared commitment to honoring the past. Through these efforts, the light of history shines brighter, guiding the generations that follow.

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