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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 16, 202006:20 AM EST

DIA takes another step to bring USS Orleck to the Shipyards

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The board's resolution approves an agreement to start negotiating.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The Downtown  Investment  Authority continues to support setting up a naval warship museum in Jacksonville.

The DIA board unanimously approved a resolution Jan. 15  to enter a one-year development agreement with the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association Inc.

The association would relocate the USS Orleck DD-886 to Pier No. 1 at the Shipyards near TIAA Bank Field.

If the nonprofit meets the terms, the resolution gives DIA staff the authority to negotiate a 10-year licensing agreement to dock the museum warship in the St. Johns River with two five-year renewal options.

This could make the Orleck a Downtown attraction for 20 years.

The USS Orleck has been a working museum in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for the last 10 years.

It is named after Lt. Joe Orleck and launched May 12, 1945. Its primary service during the Vietnam War was in the 7th Fleet in the Pacific.

This is the second time in two years JHNSA has tried to bring a warship Downtown.

JHNSA spent years trying to bring the 437-foot USS Charles F. Adams to Jacksonville. It secured $2.8 million through donations, private capital, bank loans and state grants to refurbish the ship and move it Downtown.

The U.S. Navy decided not to donate the Adams and instead salvage the ship.

The deal provides the nonprofit no city money, but the development agreement needs approval from City Council.

The proposed ticket-taking facility that will act as the museum's entrance also has to receive design approval from the Downtown Development Review Board.

JHNSA President Daniel Bean said Jan.15 that the best-case scenario would have the USS Orleck docked in Jacksonville by late April.

Bean said it could be later pending city approvals and a six- to eight-week dry-dock inspection period in Port Arthur, Texas.

DIA Contract and Regulatory Compliance Manager John Crescimbeni said that to protect the city from unforeseen expenses, the nonprofit will have to keep 110% of the cost to tow the Orleck from the Shipyards to a naval scrapyard in Brownsville, Texas.

The money will be kept in an escrow account should the ship become structurally damaged or the nonprofit struggles financially.

The deal requires JHNSA to reevaluate the cost tow the ship every five years. According to nonprofit's latest estimate, it will cost $243,500 to tow the Orleck to Texas from Jacksonville.

The DIA has to give the nonprofit a 90-day notice should it decide to terminate the licensing agreement.

Bean said the museum's hours likely will be 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

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