■ BY SUE ERWIN
Last month Florida Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Fort Myers) proposed an amendment (995154) to add the Port of Boca Lighthouse repairs to the historic restoration category. The amendment was adopted at a senate session on Wednesday, April 12. The official budget was printed earlier this week, and it reflected that $89,435 would be allotted for Lighthouse repairs.
Barrier Island Parks Society applied for a grant to receive the assistance, and Benacquisto worked to create an amendment that would designate that the funds for the repairs are categorized as a historic restoration project.
“I am extremely proud that we were able to provide the grant funds to the Barrier Island Park Society for the much-needed repairs to the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse,” Benacquisto said. “The Lighthouse is the most visited area of Gasparilla Island and helps fuel the tourism economy that is incredibly important to our region. These funds will ensure that the lighthouse can stay open and continue to be a vibrant part of the community.”
The next step will be for the governor to sign the bill.
The technical amendment refers to the addition of the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse to a general appropriations bill that includes historical resources programs, preservation and exhibition. According to the proviso-only amendment, the funds approved for the Lighthouse are nonrecurring general revenue funds for necessary repairs.
The bill takes effect on July 1. The money will be available this summer. Without this amendment, the funds would not have been available this fiscal year.