Nobska House

The Nobska lightkeeper’s house underwent roof repairs last month.

Recommitting to its shared vision has allowed the Friends of Nobska Light to shine forward into the new year. Like so many others, Friends has felt the direct impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Navigating 2020 required us to restructure, adjust our budget, suspend tours at Nobska and maintain a safety plan,” Friends president Kathleen Walrath said.

Friends of Nobska Light and its facilities committee developed a COVID-19 action plan for staff, board members, and volunteers to assure the safety of those engaged in its mission. Despite decreased operational costs, many board members assumed added responsibilities to maintain long-term commitment to “Nobska and her community.”

The committee collaborated with Dellbrook and Catalyst Architecture to minimize the impact from supply chain interruptions, shortages of manpower, and cost. Ms. Walrath expressed her gratitude for both companies being “very flexible, allowing us to modify our plans to move forward.”

Despite challenges, work completed within the keeper’s house this past year included a new ADA bathroom, upgrades to two additional second-floor bathrooms, insulation, trim, walls, paint and lighting plan updates and installation. HVAC system design changes and installation, the replacement of interior and exterior doors, hardware, locks, fencing and a security system were also among the extensive completion list.

“Yes, 2020 had complexities and uncertainties but for Nobska, perhaps 2020 is best remembered as a year of gratitude,” Ms. Walrath said.

The group was able to align construction activities with the expectations of reimbursement grants awarded over the past few years. It has received funds from the Community Preservation Act and Massachusetts Cultural Council. These monies supported more than $754,000 in capital improvements during 2020. To date it has reached close to $2.8 million of its $5 million, three-year goal despite limited fundraising efforts throughout the past year.

As a result of the pandemic, the capital campaign committee chose to pause direct solicitation of gifts. It remained connected with the community and donors through biweekly communications, indirect interaction and social media outreach. With respect to adjustments made over the last year, the capital campaign is now looking to raise the necessary funds to complete a site plan in 2021. The proposal would put forth a plan to make the “uneven grounds” ADA-accessible.

This will require “between $400,000 and $500,000 to accomplish,” after getting the necessary permits and approvals. In addition, the Friends of Nobska Light plans to replace the first-floor flooring in the keeper’s house to be historically appropriate.

Depending on “a lot of interacting parts that need to align,” Ms. Walrath’s goal is to have all projects at Nobska completed by summer 2022.

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