Thursday, August 12, 2010

Los Angeles Port to Revisit Battleship Museum Plan

The last of three San Pedro neighborhood councils has unanimously voted to support a historical group's plan to bring the World War II battleship USS Iowa to the Port of Los Angeles.

The San Pedro Northwest Neighborhood Council voted Monday to support the USS Iowa plan being floated by the non-profit Pacific Battleship Center.

The Navy continues to maintain the vessel in an "on hold" status as part of a government program that donates vessels to museum groups.

The USS Iowa, which saw service in World War II, Korea, and served again as part of the US Navy's "big stick" policy from 1984 to 1989, is the last remaining battleship in the world that has not been permanently placed as a floating museum.

Earlier this year, port officials rejected PBC's proposal to bring the battleship to San Pedro because it could complicate and interfere with an ongoing development of the port's public waterfront area. The port also rejected seven port-area locations identified by PBC as possible berths for the nearly 900-foot-long warship.

Port officials at the time also determined that the Navy had essentially promised the battleship to group trying to locate it in Vallejo near San Francisco.

In May, the Navy determined that the Vallejo proposal fell short and reopened bids to obtain the USS Iowa.

Los Angeles port officials, who still express reservations about site and funding issues, said last week they would revisit the proposal and conduct a cost benefit analysis. The analysis is expected to take several months.

PBC in the past has pointed to the nearly $500 million economic boost the city of San Diego has experienced since the aircraft carrier USS Midway opened on the city's waterfront as a floating carrier and naval aviation museum in 2004.

Approval of a 10-year lease from the port is needed before PBC can submit an application to the Navy to receive the USS Iowa. The Navy deadline is November 24.