JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A decade-long effort to bring a retired Navy warship to Downtown Jacksonville to serve as a floating museum may finally be paying off.
A previous plan to dock the USS Charles Adams along the St. Johns River fell through a year ago when the Navy took back its offer of the ship.
Daniel Bean, president of the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association, said shortly after losing the Adams, a naval museum in Lake Charles, Louisiana offered up its ship: the USS Orleck.
“The USS Orleck is a WWII destroyer. It’s one of the last destroyers built during that era. It spent most of its time during Vietnam off the coast of Vietnam,” Bean told WJCT News.
The Orleck Naval Museum entered the US Navy fleet in 1945 and now serves as a museum ship. According to current museum’s mission, the ship serves as “a lasting memorial to honor the men and women of our nation’s Armed Forces; to preserve the history created by the crews who served on the USS Orleck and other U.S. Navy ships; to educate younger generations on the sacrifices made by these individuals to ensure the freedoms we enjoy today through educational, historical, and interpretive programs and experiences for adults and children of all ages; and to establish a first-class tourist attraction and educational and recreational resource for visitors from throughout the United States and other countries.”
Bean said the Downtown Investment Authority is scheduled Wednesday to consider a resolution supporting the project. He’s confident it will be approved.
“Jacksonville’s the third-largest Navy city in America and it would be the only Navy warship on display in the state of Florida," he said.
The Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association has lined up about $1.2 million in loans and donations for the USS Orleck, with the state agreeing to kick in $1 million, according to Bean.
If the DIA agrees, the Jacksonville City Council will have the final say.