Restoration of New Jersey’s most famous elephant nears completion
Lucy the Elephant could fully reopen by Christmas.
Efforts to restore the beloved landmark in Margate are way behind schedule and way over budget, but Lucy's caretakers say the end is near.
An eight-month restoration project started in 2019 and was projected to cost $1.4 million. It has now been 13-months and the project is nearly $1 over budget.
It all began when Lucy was due to get a new paint job, but problems and leaks were discovered on her metal skin.
As repairs were attempted, deeper problems were discovered, and it was decided her entire skin and underlayment would be replaced to preserve her for future generations.
Lucy has been sheathed in metal scaffolding and wrapped in plastic as the work progressed.
Now, it's almost done. Lucy just needs a shower.
Firefighters will douse the giant pachyderm in water to test the new skin for leaks.
If that goes well, the scaffolding will be removed.
Tours have continued during Lucy's renovation and the gift shop has remained open to help raise money for repairs.
The Save Lucy Committee has hoped to have the work completed by this past Memorial Day, but now hopes for a grand re-opening in November or December.
Lucy was designated as a National Historic Landmark In 1976, was originally built in 1881 by a real estate developer hoping to sell lots in Margate (then known as South Atlantic City), the six-story pachyderm served as an office, a tavern, and a cottage before falling into disrepair in the 1960s. She was even scheduled for demolition.
The Save Lucy Committee was formed and raised the money to both move her and renovate her. In 1970, she was moved about 100 yards to a city owned lot and the original wood structure was buttressed by steel. She has now been in the same spot for 50 years.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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