Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Los Angeles Agrees to Seek Famed Battleship

The Port of Los Angeles already boasts a major Maritime Museum and a multi-million dollar Bellagio-like dancing water fountain. Now, Los Angeles City Hall is looking to add some major firepower to its list of port-area attractions.

The Los Angeles City Council on Friday approved backing a plan by the non-profit Pacific Battleship Center to bring the World War II battleship USS Iowa to the Port of Los Angeles.

The battleship remains in the Navy inventory in "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.

In May, after another proposal by a group seeking to locate the warship in Vallejo fell short, the Navy reopened bids for hopefuls wishing to acquire the USS Iowa.

In August, Los Angeles port officials began a study of the proposal and cost benefit analysis of the proposal seeking to bring the vessel to the port. The analysis is expected to take several months.
The Pacific Battleship Center group 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 San Diego waterfront as a floating carrier and naval aviation museum in 2004.

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

Ironically, the city of Long Beach, boasting the second busiest container port in the United States, which sits adjacent to the Los Angeles port, is nicknamed "Iowa by the Sea," for the large number of Midwest transplants to the city.