Report: City says USS Orleck has 3 months to move from riverfront

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The USS Orleck has three months to relocate from its current spot at the Hyatt Regency, according to News4JAX news partner the Jacksonville Daily Record.

The floating naval museum has been docked at the Jacksonville Riverfront since March of last year, but the location was never meant to be the ship’s permanent home.

The Orleck will now move to Pier 1 at the Shipyards West Park, according to the Record.

The park wasn’t ready when the ship first arrived in Jacksonville.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Agency Landscape + Planning LLC is designing the 10.2-acre Shipyard West Park and is scheduled to release a preliminary plan to the public Feb. 8.

The Jacksonville Naval Ship Association will lease a temporary structure at Pier No. 1 for ticketing and guest restrooms until the park is built.

The DIA board voted Wednesday to give the floating museum until the end of March to relocate.

The agreement for its current location was supposed to expire in October of last year, but the deadline has since been extended six months.

Lori Boyer, the CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, said the board and council needed to approve the new agreement because she cannot continue to grant extensions.

Last month, the DIA council also approved a temporary construction easement for contractors at the pier to prepare for the ship.

The DIA’s council added $50,000 to the 2022 to 2023 budget to help pay for the ship’s temporary electricity and utilities connections.

According to the Record, beyond temporary utility connections, the term sheet attached to the DIA board resolution says the city will provide the Orleck site:

  • Permanent water, sewer and electric service to the Riverwalk at Pier No. 1 will be included in a planned Catherine Street extension as access to Shipyards West Park.
  • On-street parking along one side of Catherine Street and to be completed “as expeditiously as possible” with a goal of March 31, 2024.
  • Landscaping, trees and a sidewalk connection to Bay Street and streetlights as part of the Catherine Street extension.
  • A permanent restroom facility and ticket area as Phase 1 of the park construction within Shipyards West Park near the Catherine Street extension.

According to the Record, the city could provide 50 parking spaces in the final park design, “if feasible and consistent with the other park design objectives.”

After the vote Jan. 18, Association Executive Director Jim Webb said he expects to meet the city’s March 31 deadline to have the ship towed to Pier No. 1.

The Naval Ship Association executive director Jim Webb said it’s a 90-day project they have to squeeze into 75 days but said they should meet the city’s deadline.