22, 1998 |
Waterfront near the Aquarium at Wiggins Park, Camden, is an ideal
spot for the venerable old battleship, the USS New Jersey. If
those in political office will make the effort, it will work.
If we do not form a solid front now, the opportunity will be
The USS New Jersey was built in the same area
as the greatest shipbuilding facilities that ever existed in
the United States. The Delaware River shipyards represented the
efforts of one-quarter million workers during World War II to
build the largest and most formidable warships of every description.
Since the New Jersey was built at the Philadelphia
Naval Shipyard, it should spend its remaining lifetime here in
South Jersey. It may be true that the committee that was formed
several years ago has raised a substantial amount of money to
fund the project, including the Battleship N.J. license plates.
But the plates were purchased by all people in the state, not
The USS Intrepid naval museum is right in
downtown New York City. While it has had a large amount of visitors
and publicity, I believe it would be counterproductive to that
venture to have the New Jersey nearby. Many of the same people
would have to decide which was their destination. That would
reduce the expected number of visitors to each site.
Having the huge battleship in the shadow of
the Ben Franklin Bridge on the Jersey side would create a visibility
of hundreds of thousands of motorists a week. That alone would
be a decided asset. Philadelphia is a 'destination' city and
is in close proximity to the proposed site. Remember the plan
in the works to have a direct link from the Maritime Museum at
Penn's Landing to the Camden Waterfront?
It takes a great many volunteers to make a
museum ship a success. I am sure that alone would make the Camden
site more successful than Bayonne. This is a ship-oriented part
of the state because of its recent involvement with New York
Ship, Cramp Ship, Sun Ship, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and
a dozen others that made this area great.