New Shoreham – On Tuesday, Deepwater Wind, developer of the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) in partnership with the Block Island Historical Society and Southeast Lighthouse Foundation, announced a “collaboration to strengthen historic preservation and heritage tourism efforts on Block Island.”
In a press release from Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC, the partnership was touted as a collaboration that will “advance programming that benefits the entire island and its visitors. The majority of the funds will become available at the conclusion of 2016, when the Block Island Wind Farm is expected to commence operation.”
“Block Island has long been a leader in wind power, dating from the 19th century when windmills dotted the Island’s landscape to the near future when the Block Island Wind Farm will power the island with clean energy,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “We’re proud to support protecting and enhancing historical resources that are so integral to the island’s tourism sector and economy.”
According to the Block Island Times, the total payout of $2.5 million is slated to be split evenly between the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation (SELF) and the Block Island Historical Foundation (BIHF), with a portion of the SELF funding dedicated to restoring the Southeast Lighthouse.
“It’s $1.25 million each for Southeast Lighthouse Foundation and Block Island Historical Society,” said Meaghan Wims, spokesperson for Deepwater Wind on Thursday.
Block Island Historical Society president Bob Champagne-Willis stated, “By celebrating our community’s centuries of history, we enrich the lives of all who live and visit here. In accepting this generous investment from Deepwater Wind, we will be further enabled to honor the contributions of the Native Americans, fishermen, farmers, and Block Islanders who have created this unique and culturally rich Island home.”
The release went on to say that Deepwater Wind’s contribution will anchor an ongoing fundraising effort, that includes pursuit of additional funding and development of an endowment fund.
Dr. Gerald Abbott, president of the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation, remarked, “People come from around the world to enjoy the Block Island experience and learn of its unique history, and the Block Island Wind Farm will soon become an important player in the island’s present and future economy and tourism industry. The Island’s sweeping land and seascapes compliment its historic architecture, and the Historical Society and Southeast Lighthouse are both popular venues for portraying Block Island’s rural and maritime culture to residents and visitors alike. Our local and regional economies are strengthened when we invest in those resources, and our children are taught to appreciate the events and experiences that have shaped our Island community. May the fair winds blow, and bring fresh energy to our shores.”
The majority of funding was said to be scheduled for 2016 when BIWF commences operation.