County Commission OK Sought to Moor Destroyer Near Independence Bridge
USS Edson, Expected to Draw 100,000 Visitors a Year, May Finally Have Berth
September 26, 2004
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By: Dave Rogers
Graphic shows proposed permanent mooring site for USS Edson east of Independence Bridge.
The ship may finally have a berth.
And Bay City may soon have the only destroyer museum in the Midwest, an attraction expected to draw 100,000 or more visitors a year.
Organizers of a campaign to bring the destroyer USS Edson here are seeking approval Tuesday from the Bay County Commission to moor their 400-foot long vessel at the old Rupp Oil Co. terminal. The site is near the Independence Park Boat Launch on the west side of the Saginaw River just east of Independence Bridge.
The county commission is asked by County Executive Tom Hickner to adopt a resolution supporting the efforts of the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum Committee.
Commission approval would be subject to a contractand approval would also be needed from The Dow Chemical Co., the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
This site "is highly visible from the Independence Bridge," that has a higher traffic count than downtown bridges, according to Steven Black, deputy city manager of community development, who along with Mr. Hickner suggested the site. Mr. Black pointed out in a letter to the ship promoters that traffic countstaken in June showed 27,098 vehicles in 24 hours using Independence Bridge, while the most recent Veteran's Bridge count in December, 2002, showed more than 3,000 less in 24 hours.
"Another virtue of this site is that it does not have a riverwalk path that any mooring system that must be designed around," wrote Black. A main consideration of mooring the ship is that dolphins comprised of several wooden pilings lashed together must be installed for the ship to be securely tied up.
Mike Kegley and Richard Janke of the ship museum committee have been frustrated in efforts to find a mooring location. The Bay County Historical Society has opposed a proposed location in the old Davidson drydock because of historical preservation considerations and another desired site at the foot of Ninth Street would be impacted by water, sewer and gas lines as well as by shallow drafts and the requirement of unhindered permanent public access as a condition of grant agreements from state and federal sources over the years.
"Committee members have repeatedly stated their desire for a low cost location that is highly visible, has a significant amount of frontage, with ample parking and utilities," wrote Mr. Black, noting that the county boat launch meets all those criteria.###
Local News Article 563
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
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