JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The all-volunteer group working to bring the USS Adams to Jacksonville as a warship museum got a big boost this week when the new Downtown Investment Authority gave it's approval to the project.
"It would be a great naval symbol for the city," says Daniel Bean, one of the people working hard to bring the ship downtown.
Retired Navy captain Daniel Bean of Jacksonville served on the Adams and always wanted to stay in Jacksonville after his Navy career. The volunteer president of the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association (JHNSA) would like nothing better than to go to work downtown and see the old warship docked there.
"It is the lead ship in the Cuban missile crisis and when it gets here and open for business, it will be the youngest warship on display in America and we believe there will be a tremendous attraction for that and we look forward to it," said Bean.
"The neat thing is to have the warship sitting right here in the middle of downtown, and what it represents, as far as being a Navy town, but also from an educational standpoint. It accents the two greatest assets or our city -- the river and the Navy. "
Bean says his group has raised $1.4 million dollars of the $3.4 million dollars needed. He expects the USS Adams to be docked downtown a year from now.
Retired sailor Pat Stroud served on four Adams class guided missile destroyers at Pearl Harbor. He volunteers 40 hours a week at the USS Adams Museum and store at the Landing, helping raise money to fulfill his wish to bring the ship here.
"It would bring meaning to what I did during those thirty years in the Navy and depart on people some education on American history and patriotism."
Bean says the floating museum could attract more than 40,000 out-of-town visitors to Jacksonville and boost area tourism. He thinks it could triple the number of military reunions that could come to Jacksonville.
Crowne Plaza hotel manager Shawn Frisbee says his downtown hotel hosts 40 to 60 military reunions a year and the USS ADAMS docked downtown would increase that number.
"I think that would continue to drive more business because having a maritime museum in your downtown area is really going to enhance the community similar to the battleship North Carolina in Wilmington," said Frisbee. "We look forward to it coming downtown."
The ADAMS is one of 23 ships built in the ADAMS class, but the only one of those that remain afloat. It is currently in Philadelphia at the inactive ship facility but plans are to repaint it and refurbish it with items removed from the ship and make it look like it did when it was in service, and include some interactive exhibits.
The ADAMS was docked at NAS Mayport from 1970 to 1990.
If anyone wants to help, they can go HERE for information, as well as attend meetings of the JHNSA.
First Coast News