JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Yearslong plans to bring America's first guided missile destroyer to Jacksonville as a floating museum have been scrapped after the U.S. Navy decided to mothballed the ship rather than donate it.
The Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association has worked for 10 years to save the USS Adams from the scrapyard and make it a downtown attraction. The group raised $2 million, the state chipped in $1 million and Shad Khan's development group incorporated the 1956-era ship in its proposal for a major riverfront mixed-use project.
Jacksonville's leadership, Gov. Rick Scott, Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, had supported the project and the Navy recommended in 2014 that the ship be released for it. The Navy reversed that decision earlier this month even though the association complied with all of the stipulations put on the transfer of ownership.
"Although disappointed by this development, the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association will continue to pursue bringing a Navy warship to downtown Jacksonville," the group posted on its website.
News4Jax learned the association is in talks with an unnamed group to move a similar warship on display in another city to Jacksonville.
Daniel Bean served on the USS Adams in 1984 when it was stationed at Mayport and has been working with others to bring the ship to Jacksonville.
"We are dealing right now with a lot of tremendous disappointment with all of the folks that had ties to the USS Adams," Bean said.
The group is pretty positive it will be able to entice an existing naval museum to move to Jacksonville.
"It’s creating revenue where it’s at right now, just not enough revenue to make ends meet for it," Bean said. "So it’s ready, off the shelf in that way, and the Adams was going to take a considerable amount of work."
City leaders know that money has already been invested and it would take more to make this happen. City Council President Aaron Bowman said money was already invested in the Adams and moving another ship to town will take more money. This might cause city leaders to rethink what's happening downtown
"Sorry to hear it, but I think this gives us a new opportunity to look at what we need in downtown Jacksonville," Bowman said.
Even though Bean and the association are working to make the museum happen without the Adams, he is not giving up the ship.
"(The) state of Florida currently does not have a Navy warship on display," Bean said. "There was a lot of synergy to have a Navy warship in Florida's No. 1 Navy town."
United States government photo of USS Adams on patrol in the 1960s.