By CAROL COMEGNO
The Home Port Alliance postponed a decision Wednesday on an opening date for the battleship USS New Jersey.
The alliance could decide when to open the retired warship to the public at its next meeting, which is Monday night.
Patricia Jones, co-chairman of the alliance, said more work needs to be done to obtain the permits necessary for the public opening of the pier, the ship and the visitor center.
"It should not be much longer," she said. "Everyone is anticipating it and is excited about it. We'll do it as soon as possible even though it all won't be finished."
City and state officials must issue occupancy or acceptance permits for various parts of the $22 million project.
Jones also said the ship's move earlier this week to its permanent pier caused some disruption and adjustments. The ship is a veteran of three major wars and the Navy's most highly decorated battleship.
The alliance had initially planned to open the ship during Labor Day weekend.
But the alliance's consultants failed to obtain the required building permits and resolve fee issues.
The city ordered construction halted on the landside visitor center behind the Tweeter Center last month, but the work resumed last week. The visitor center handicapped ramp has yet to be installed.
Alliance trustees said they need to open the museum as quickly as possible to start generating revenue for operating costs. They also want to have the ribbon-cutting when acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco can attend.
Trustees said they are not planning a large gala because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that have left thousands dead or missing.
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