Point Robinson to get overdue maintenance thanks to grant

The aging lighthouse roof at Point Robinson will be replaced this summer and the keeper’s quarters painted, thanks in part to a grant from King County’s 4Culture.

“We’re thrilled,” said Elaine Ott, the Vashon Park District’s executive director, speaking about the grant to fund the roof replacement. “It’s a long overdue maintenance issue that we are very happy we are finally able to move forward with.”

Captain Joe Wubbold, the head of the Keepers of Point Robinson, has long advocated for more maintenance at the park’s buildings, and a Coast Guard inspection of the property this spring called for the lighthouse roof to be replaced within two years and the keepers’ quarters to be painted, Wubbold said.

He credits the district’s lodging manager, Eric Wyatt, with spotting the grant opportunity from 4Culture, which is providing nearly $20,000, the full cost of replacing the old cedar shake roof with a metal roof that will look like shakes painted red.

“With some metal roofs, it is difficult to tell they are not the original material,” Wubbuld said. “And they last and last and last. They are beautiful, and it is a beautiful building. It will guarantee its water-tight integrity for a long time.”

Wubbold said he first brought the poor condition of the roof to the park commissioners’ attention two years ago, saying that it looked terrible and needed to be painted.

“It became a cause celebre with me,” he said.

That was a difficult time at the district, Wubbold said, as it was around the time the commissioners fired executive director Jan Milligan and were very short on funds.

The roof later began leaking, he recalled, and the park district opted to repair it, but not paint it.

“The place looked more and more terrible,” he said. “Some guests have commented on how shabby it looked.”

This spring, Wubbold requested that the Coast Guard, which still owns the property but leases it to the park district, come out and determine what building maintenance needed to be done there to comply with the lease arrangement.

Replacing the roof and painting the quarters were the only required items, Wubbold said.

At its most recent park board meeting, the commissioners agreed to allocate funds to paint the quarters, a project that is expected to cost about $25,000.

Wubbold has been requesting that the buildings be repainted for the more than a year, he said, and has often indicated he believes that the park district should be using the funds generated by the rental of the quarters for upkeep. Even if there was not adequate rental income generated, he said, the park district, under the terms of the lease, still had the duty to do the work.

Ott noted that by her calculations, it has been only in the past two years that the quarters have netted a profit, totaling about $25,000, the amount necessary for painting. Ott added she is pleased the work will be done soon, particularly since next year will mark the lighthouse’s centennial.

Wubbold also expressed his feelings about the importance of the park and maintaining the buildings.

“This place is much more than some old buildings that we take care of for historical purposes,” he said.

The park, a popular spot that draws people from around the region and beyond, reflects on the whole island, he noted.

“It represents all of us, and it ought to be the best that we can put out,” he added. “Since the best does not cost us much, there is no excuse for not having it shipshape and Bristol fashion.”


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