26, 1999 |
tell Navy to bring USS New Jersey to Camden
By JETTE ENGLUND SMITH
Gannett State Bureau
- The tug-of-war over the battleship USS New Jersey got an extra
yank toward South Jersey with 18 congressmen from the Delaware
Valley pulling to bring the ship back to the Delaware River,
where it was launched 56 years ago.
"As we move further in the decision-making
process, it becomes more and more evident that Camden is the
only choice to berth the Battleship New Jersey," said New
Jersey Rep. Rob Andrews, a Democrat from Haddon Heights, in a
joint statement with Republican Jim Saxton from Mount Holly.
Members of Congress from Delaware, Maryland,
New Jersey and Pennsylvania endorsed a bipartisan proposal in
a letter to Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig on Friday.
Also contending in the battle to get the ship
is Bayonne, Hudson County, where the USS Intrepid is anchored
and serves as a Navy museum.
"(USS New Jersey) was built here on the
banks of the Delaware ... let's bring her home," Saxton
But Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina, R-Monmouth,
disagrees. Azzolina has led the fight to bring the New Jersey
"The overwhelming majority of New Jersey
residents want the Battleship New Jersey on the Hudson waterfront
... In fact, the New Jersey and the Intrepid complement one another
as they did during World War II. These two great warships sharing
the Hudson waterfront in New Jersey and New York will help each
other draw many more visitors to these irreplaceable tourist
attractions. My sentiments now are, may the best waterfront location,
where the people want the ship, win."
An application has been filed with the Navy's
Donation Office, and Andrews is "confident that based on
history, maintenance costs, lack of competition from nearby ship
museums, geography and other factors, that no other site has
as good an application as Camden."
Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, a Republican from
Vineland, also signed the letter.