Program Funded from the Sale of Lighthouse License Plates

 LANSING, Mich. — The Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival, an annual event that draws hundreds of enthusiasts to Alpena each year, will feature a session October 11 highlighting the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program, which funds lighthouse preservation throughout the state with money generated from the sale of Save Our Lights license plates. 

“Lighthouses symbolize the Great Lake State and draw visitors to Michigan each year,” said Bryan Lijewski, an architect in the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). “These structures, perhaps more than any other type due to their location near – or in – the lakes, require continual maintenance. In some cases a complete rehabilitation is required.” 

Thanks to the enthusiasm of Michigan vehicle owners who purchase the Save Our Lights license plate, the SHPO is able to grant money to lighthouse stewards for the preservation of lighthouses and related buildings. 

“We regularly hear from people interested in saving these unique and irreplaceable structures. The lighthouse festival is an opportunity for people to learn about the application process and what it takes to put a project together,” Lijewski said. 

Preregistration for the MLAP training is recommended. For more information and preregistration contact Bryan Lijewski at 517-373-1631 or 

Since 2000 the State Historic Preservation Office has awarded more than $1.5 million in Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grants for the preservation of lighthouses. For information about the MLAP, visit


The Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival is a nonprofit organization that promotes the historic lighthouses and lifesaving stations of the Great Lakes. The four-day event will be held Oct. 10-13, 2013, at the APlex, 701 Woodward Avenue, Alpena. In addition to the training on the MLAP grants, and displays of photography, artists, crafters and authors, participants will have an opportunity to visit 12 lighthouses. Weather permitting, there will be boat tours to Middle Island Lighthouse and Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse, and helicopter photo tours to up to five different lighthouses. 

Admission to festival activities at the APlex is $2.50. For festival information visit or contact Melanie Kirn at or 586-566-1603. 

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is financed in part by a grant from the National Park Service, Department of Interior. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on its federally funded assistance programs. If you believe you've been discriminated against please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C. St. NW, Washington DC 20240 

The State Historic Preservation Office is part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), which provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.* 

*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit