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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
 
South Jersey

Move quickly to dock 'Big J' in Camden

The ''Big J'' is on her way. Though her arrival, so they say, is imminent, our enthusiasm is getting difficult to contain.

Let's get the USS New Jersey docked on the Camden banks of the Delaware before the GOP convention begins in Philadelphia.

Right now, South Jersey's prize catch sits in a Navy facility in Philadelphia. There's a lot of work that needs to be done before she will rest in splendor as a museum in Camden. Up to $21 million will be spent on the ship's rehabilitation, and it will not be open to the public until the end of next year.

But this doesn't mean the ship's transfer - from the Navy to the nonprofit Home Port Alliance, which will act as the ''Big J's'' custodian - ought to be delayed.

If the USS New Jersey can get to Camden before the GOP convention, some 15,000 news people expected to cover the GOP gathering might meander over to the ship during down time. Any coverage the ''Big J'' gets will only help to bolster Camden's ability to attract tourists. Prominent political figures from around the nation will be only moments away, too. The word-of-mouth publicity they may chat up at home could help Camden's rebirth as well.

But time is sailing away. In three weeks, the Republicans will have already settled in. That's why the Home Port Alliance and the Navy must quickly tie up the loose ends and get the ''Big J'' to where she belongs: on the Camden Waterfront.




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