Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Suisun City's 'Icon' Arrives

Suisun City's 'Icon' Arrives
By Ian Thompson

Suisun City's lighthouse will be 56 feet tall and will be supported by this 15,000 pound frame. (Christine Baker/Daily Republic)

SUISUN CITY - Rainy skies greeted the Suisun City lighthouse's 56-foot-tall steel frame as it was hauled to its new home next to the Suisun Slough early Monday morning.

The 15,000-pound frame was taken to Suisun City from the Delta Steel Erectors fabrication facility in Benicia, where it was assembled into a single piece.

A light rain assailed the work crew as the lighthouse frame was moved across the muddy field and hooked up to a crane that carried it aloft to be placed on the foundation. The foundation was put in last month.

Worsening weather stopped the work before the frame could be welded onto the foundation and workers will have to wait until the rain abates.

Few residents were there to watch the frame go up, with one passerby commenting that she expected it to be bigger than it was, but adding that it would be a nice addition to the harbor.

"It will be nice to see it when it's done," said Juanita Lopez.

Councilman Mike Segala watched the work and called the design "just right in height, not too overbearing and an important icon for what we are doing here."

"It is exciting. It is a visual image of our transition to Main Street West," said Suisun City Manager Suzanne Bragdon, alluding to the city's plans to use a master developer to develop the remaining vacant parcels in the downtown.

The idea to put up a lighthouse was born in 2004 after a committee of residents, businessmembers and city leaders was created to work out ways to jumpstart the downtown redevelopment efforts.

The group said putting up the lighthouse would be an appropriate distinctive symbol of the redevelopment efforts and prove to be a draw to bring more people into the downtown.

Work started in December after the city council awarded Blackshear Construction a $623,000 contract to build the lighthouse. The funds came from a special assessment put on downtown land sold by the Redevelopment Agency.

Once the frame is in place and granite panels arrive in early April from Minnesota, stonemasons will fit the panels onto the lighthouse to create a black-and-white striping.

"We are still on schedule for lighting it on July 4," Segala said.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at ithompson@dailyrepublic.net.

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