Lennon, Stewart Families Move Forward with Lighthouse Plans

The families of Mark Lennon and Lindsey Stewart are moving forward with the goal of building a lighthouse in their memory.

Lennon and Stewart lost their lives in the boat crash on the Hudson River July 26 and now the Lindsey And Mark Memorial Fund bears their names. 

The families took another step toward their goal Tuesday, presenting their request to build the lighthouse on Piermont Pier to the Piermont Board of Trustees

"We are committed to building a lighthouse in Mark and Lindsey's memory," said Ray Lennon, Mark's brother. "We would like to propose to the board, to the village that the lighthouse be erected at (the) pier. I think it is fitting. It is obvious, where a lighthouse belongs, on the water."

Ray Lennon was joined by his wife, Jeannine, and Carol Stewart-Kosik, Lindsey Stewart's mother.

"As you can imagine, this has been an enormous undertaking by our families and the extended families, as well as the community, which has done a tremendous outreach and outpouring of support to us in support of the children we lost," Stewart-Kosik said.

Mark Lennon lived in Pearl River and Lindsey Stewart spent much of her life there, but both spent a great deal of time in Peirmont. Stewart's fiancee Brian Bond, a survivor of the crash, still lives in Piermont.

"We are doing (this) in the hopes that another tragedy like that can be averted," Stewart-Kosik said. "And what better place to do than here in Piermont, which Mark and Lindsey loved? They were constantly a part of this town.

"We feel having the opportunity to shed that light, that beacon of light, on the river not only in their memory, but to help others that may come after them, so it will never be dark again."

They showed pictures of lighthouses similar to what they have planned and spoke of others built by families with stories similar to their own, including ones in California, Texas and Iowa. Ray Lennon said he expected the lighthouse to also be a draw for Piermont, so it could help the village financially.

They had previously spoken with Piermont Mayor Chris Sanders about their plans, including options for where to put the lighthouse that included the Tappan Zee Marina. Building the lighthouse on public land such as the pier raises additional complications.

"Carol, you engaged me in conversation about what was involved in an agreement with the Tappan Zee Marina to put it on marina property," Sanders said. "Then I mentioned putting it on private property was probably the easier road to go. It would be an agreement among private property owners. I know full well to consider this on Piermont public property is a whole other issue."

Just before the families' presentation, the village trustees discussed finding ways to accommodate the large number of people who have expressed interest in even placing something as simple as a memorial bench on the pier.

The other trustees expressed their sympathy for the families, but also acknowledged that the process could be difficult. 

"This is the first I'm seeing the proposal," Trustee Lisa Defeciani said. "I would have a lot of questions in terms of putting up the lighthouse, the legality of it. It would be shining light on the river. Do we need to get permission from the state?"

Village Attorney Walter Sevastian said that it would have to be some form of cooperative arrangement between the memorial fund and the village due to village code.

"It's cumbersome," said Trustee John Gallucci, Jr. "There are an awful lot of issues that have to be addressed. A lot woul have to be done to accomplish it. Certainly, we understand and would want to accommodate."

Jeannine Lennon said that the families meant the presentation Tuesday to be the beginning of a dialogue, not something to put the trustees on the spot. She said they would be looking for input from the community. 

"Is it out of the question to go in a public place?" Stewart-Kosik asked. "We are fully aware this is not an easy undertaking and it is not going to be a snap decision. We'd like to know what steps are necessary to move forward if there is an opportunity."

Trustee Steven Silverberg suggested a structure that would be a memorial for others in addition to Mark Lennon and Lindsey Stewart. Sanders cautioned the families cautioned the family that it may not be possible,

"I want you to know this could end up with a complete no, that it is much more of a challenge as public property," Sanders said. 

"We understand that," Stewart-Kosik said. "We would still like to solicit your support. We've come this far. We will continue to go if we have your support."

The matter was left with a plan to have further discussions among representatives of the village and the Stewart and Lennon families.

Stewart-Kosik and Ray Lennon also expressed their thanks to the emergency responders of Piermont, who helped in the search for Mark Lennon and Lindsey Stewart after the crash.

"I'd like to take a few minutes to personally thank the volunteers with the fire department, the police department (and Piermont Police) Chief (Mike) O'Shea," Ray Lennon said. "Just your pure professionalism and hard work on the river that night and the nights to follow. It just gave us so much solace knowing there were people out there looking for Mark and Lindsey after this tragic accident."

Editor's note: To see part of the presentation by the Ray Lennon and Carol Stewart-Kosik, click here


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