Bay Area cities battle over flagship
US Navy photo
By Anna Molin, Bay City News Service
May 14, 2006
Bay Area cities are battling over the USS Iowa, the World War
II and Korean War Navy flagship now mothballed in Suisun Bay north
of San Francisco and awaiting donation for use as a museum in
Organizations in San Francisco, Stockton and Vallejo have all
spent years working to anchor the 45,000-ton, 887-feet-3-inches
long ship in their city ports.
Interested parties have until today to submit a letter of intent
and until Sept. 29 to send in an official application to the Navy
Sea Systems Command, which oversees navy ship donations.
Stockton's Battleship Iowa Museum-Memorial Foundation project
manager Bob Rogers said Friday he personally traveled to Washington,
D.C., a week and a half ago to present Stockton's interest firsthand.
"If we are fortunate enough to receive the ship, we will
build the best museum we can and create a world-class museum that
will be the centerpiece of the port of Stockton and a major tourist
attraction," Rogers said.
Rogers thinks Stockton is in a favorable position because the
port has offered to make available 1,000 feet of docking space,
three bases of 30,000-square-feet each, 15 acres of land and a
90,000-square-feet water front building, all along the San Joaquin
River at a total value of $33 million. Additionally, the port
has agreed to lease the area to the foundation for $1 a year for
50 years, Rogers said.
The three bays would feature different activities, including
a museum store, exhibition, cafe, lecture hall and orientation
theatre, with the USS Iowa docked at Berth 14 at Rough and Ready
Island, a former Naval base, Rogers said.
Although the ship comes as a donation, the cost of moving and
refurbishing the fleet into a museum would land in the millions.
San Francisco looked just a few weeks ago as if it might be out
of the running when the board of supervisors decided they didn't
want a naval ship in its port.
But, the port of San Francisco commission recently decided to
give the San Francisco's Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square
a chance to come up with a financial plan. The Historic Ships
Memorial at Pacific Square has fought for eight years to berth
the battleship at Fisherman's Wharf.
Vallejo also recently joined the list of cities interested in
the ship with a plan to incorporate it in a historical district
at Mare Island Naval Shipyard.
Spokespersons for San Francisco's Historic Ships Memorial at
Pacific Square and the city of Vallejo did not return calls seeking
comment Friday afternoon.
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