ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The opportunity to get a good fish dinner and help a worthy cause gave area residents something to do and provided funds to help restore the Ashtabula Lighthouse.
The Ashtabula Lighthouse Restoration and Preservation Society has been working since 2002 to restore the lighthouse and have faced many financial challenges during nearly two decades of fish fries and hard work by a small group of volunteers.
The organization has seen a great deal of progress during the last year as a $285,000 state grant was received and contractors have been working all summer to make necessary improvements which, when finished, will include new windows, new flooring and many other important changes, said ALRPS President Joe Santiana.
He said State Rep. John Patterson (D-99, Jefferson) led efforts to the get the grant and Gov. Mike DeWine signed off on the grant.
Santiana said there will likely be more work to complete next year as weather will likely become an issue in September when large swells develop inside the breakwall. He said the organization hopes to have things ready for tours next summer.
"We are going to have a high tech video system," he said of the equipment that will allow visitors to watch historical presentations about the lighthouse.
Santiana said organization leaders were expecting about 75 percent of business for the fish fry because of the coronavirus.
"We rented the whole park so people can be spread out," he said of the lower pavilion.
Local musician Jim Fuller performed for those who attended and volunteers cooked the fish.