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By CAROL COMEGNO
The USS New Jersey will move to its final pier on Sept. 16, the Home Port Alliance announced Wednesday.
The alliance, which is in charge of the battleship project, did not set a date for opening the ship as a museum.
The ship's departure from its repair site at the Broadway Terminal of the South Jersey Port Corp. is planned for 11 a.m. on the 61st anniversary of the laying of the warship's keel at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
"We hope to be able to open by the end of September, but we want to make sure the ship fits the pier first," said Pat Jones, co-chairman of the nonprofit alliance composed of South Jersey business, government and political leaders.
She said the alliance will discuss the opening again next Wednesday and believes it will have a building permit to complete the visitors center for the opening of the Navy's most decorated battleship.
The alliance chose the new date after tours Wednesday of the new $11 million pier behind the Tweeter Center and of the ship more than a mile downriver. The opening was delayed from Labor Day weekend because neither the ship nor the pier was ready.
"We encourage the public to turn out for this momentous occasion to watch the battleship New Jersey on her final voyage," said state Sen. John Matheussen, R-Gloucester, the other alliance co-chairman.
The best places to watch the ship dock - between 1 and 1: 30 p.m. that Sunday - will be the Camden County Wiggins Park and marina. There will be no pier access at Broadway or behind the Tweeter Center.
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