USS Edson Funding Bolstered by Loan From Bay County Growth Alliance
Ship Called Significant Tourist Attraction by Cliff Van Dyke, BCGA Prexy
The Edson, a destroyer, will be the largest ship display in the Midwest. Submarines, much smaller ships, are on display in Chicago and Muskegon.
A $300,000 "credit agreement" from the Bay County Growth Alliance (BCGA) has improved the financial standing of the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum (SVNSM), Executive Vice President Richard Janke said today.
The funding is advanced against pledges totaling near that amount, allowing SVNSM to assure the U.S. Navy that it can tow the ship here from Philadelphia and provide for docks and other expenses.
"This will help us convince the Navy that we have the funds for the towing and docking phase are ready to receive the ship," said Mr. Janke. "We appreciate all the support from the community and we are continuing to raise funds to cover all aspects of the project, including education, signage, and unforeseen costs that always crop up."
The ship museum has filed a letter of intent to make formal application for the vessel with the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships, due in January, 2008.
The Edson is a 400 foot long destroyer of the Vietnam War era that formerly was part of the Intrepid Air-Sea-Space Museum in New York City. It is fitted out as a museum ship and will be a tribute to Navy veterans of all wars as well as the Defoe Shipbuilding Co. that built about 170 ships for the Navy during World War II.
The credit agreement runs for two years until 31 July 2009, according to Mr. Van Dyke, and any unpaid portion at that time is convertible to a 5-year term loan.
"Bringing a destroyer to this area is really a significant improvement to the whole array of tourist attractions, including the Pere Marquette Depot that the Growth Alliance was pleased to assist," said Mr. Van Dyke. "This begins to add up to critical mass that is sure to be very enticing to tourists."
The ship museum has about $370,000 on hand, in addition to $297,910 in pledges, and has received $262,845 in in-kind services, materials and labor for dock preparation and other costs, Mr. Janke said.
Towing from Philadelphia, a 2,600 mile trip through the St. Lawrence Seaway, is expected to cost about $570,000, depending on fuel costs. Ocean-going tugs will take the ship from Philadelphia to Montreal and freshwater tugs will complete the trip through the Great Lakes to Bay City.
Other immediate costs include hull insurance, $25,000; gangway, $14,250; and refurbishment of the ship, $10,000.
Mr. Van Dyke noted that the Edson, a destroyer, will be the largest ship display in the Midwest. Submarines, much smaller ships, are on display in Chicago and Muskegon.
"These kind of displays are successful all over the country; they are well received, well attended and popular," he added.
Board members of BCGA, in addition to Mr. Van Dyke, are Tom Begin, regional manager for Consumers Energy; Scott Carmona, Sunrise National Distributors; William Lutz, Dow Chemical; Al McFadyen, Delhi Charter Township DDA; Joe Mulders, Dow Corning; Larry Reimann, Oetzel-Hartman Group; Don Schutt, Mid-Michigan Innovation Center, Midland; Warren Sinke, retired supervisor of Monitor Township; Andrea Hales, district sales executive of National City Bank.
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at email@example.com)
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