move by Camden to bolster battleship bid
good to see South Jersey uniting to bring the battleship New
We're happy to see South Jersey unite in efforts
to bring the USS New Jersey to Camden as a floating museum.
The latest good news comes from the Camden
Empowerment Zone Corp.
On its Monday meeting agenda is a resolution
to earmark $1 million in federal money to convert the battleship
into a museum.
If other agencies and South Jersey businesses
could add a few million more, Camden would have a leg up on the
other areas vying for the famed ship. It belongs in Camden, near
the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where Delaware Valley residents
Until recently, the USS New Jersey Battleship
Commission indicated it was a done deal - the ship was going
to Bayonne and South Jersey would have to accept it.
When the arrogance of that position was reported,
and the spotlight turned on the commission, its chairman, Assemblyman
Joseph Azzolina, R-Monmouth, changed his tune. He's at least
trying to give the appearance a decision hasn't been made.
At its latest meeting, the commission heard
proposals from Bayonne, Camden and Jersey City. Afterward, Azzolina
said, 'They're all on a fairly level field.'
A few South Jersey politicians are conspicuous
by their absence in this effort to bring our battleship home.
Where is the support of Rep. Rob Andrews of
Haddon Heights, D-1st, in whose district the ship would be situated?
Why hasn't Assembly Speaker Jack Collins, R-Salem, taken the
side of his part of the state?
Could it be Collins and Andrews would turn
their backs on their constituents in order not to offend populous
North Jersey, where they would need votes to get their party's
nomination for governor?
If so, shame on them.
On the positive side, Camden Mayor Milt Milan,
Sen. John Matheussen, R-Gloucester, and Camden County Freeholder
Pat Jones have worked long and hard to gather support from South
Jersey business, political and civic leaders.
The commission will visit Camden July 31.
Jones said a coalition of agencies, officials and military veterans
is planning a river cruise for commissioners to view a proposed
'We're going to show the commission why Camden,
by far, is the best spot for the battleship,' said Matheussen.
Beyond that, Frank Fulbrook, trustee of the
empowerment zone agency, said the other cities won't be able
to match Camden's economic package if the proposal gets approved.
That's the kind of gung-ho spirit the proud
people of South Jersey are capable of.
The empowerment zone meeting is at 6 p.m.
Monday at Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center in Camden.
Go and support the resolution.
Those unable to attend can add their voice
by sending in the following coupon. We'll make sure they get
to the people who need to know.
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