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TIBA to spend $800K to waterproof Heart Island’s tower

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ALEXANDRIA BAY — The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, owner of Boldt Castle, will undertake an $800,000 project to wrap up the exterior rehabilitation of Heart Island’s Alster Tower by the end of the year.

This would be the last phase of a four-year effort to stabilize the stone structure’s foundation, its seawall and properly weatherproof the historic tower that sits on the edge of the island near the landmark castle.

The bridge authority hired Lupini Construction Inc. of Utica for the injection grouting of the tower’s exterior walls that would once and for all stabilize and complete the waterproofing of the aging structure.

Operators are hoping to reopen the tower to visitors in 2014.

Completed in 1899, the tower has undergone several repairs since the 1970s to stop leaks due to cracks and voids in the tower walls.

Also known as the “children’s playhouse,” the tower once housed a functional bowling alley and a small stage that were ruined by decades of water damage.

Shane K. Sanford, director of Boldt facilities, said the bridge authority hopes to eventually restore the tower’s interior so that it can have a bowling alley on display and perhaps host performances on the playhouse stage.

The bridge authority also has been reconstructing Boldt Castle — which was left unfinished by millionaire proprietor George Charles Boldt — after acquiring Heart Island in 1977.

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