6, 1998 |
panel plans return to Jersey City
By CAROL COMEGNO
of the Battleship New Jersey Commission will meet again with
Jersey City officials Friday to hear more about the city's recently
unveiled proposal to place the USS New Jersey offshore in New
It will be the second site visited in the
past two weeks by the commission, which hopes to win Navy approval
to bring the idle battleship here from Washington state and use
it as a floating museum.
Chairman Joseph Azzolina said he expects the
commission will decide on a site by the end of the month after
several commissioners return from vacation. No meeting date has
In order to decide which of three sites to
recommend to the Legislature and Gov. Christie Whitman, the commission
visited the Camden-Philadelphia waterfront last week.
Camden City and Camden County officials propose
docking the ship at the north end of the Beckett Street Marine
Terminal owned by the South Jersey Port Corp. and offered a $4.2
million financial package to help with the cost of towing and
docking the most decorated ship in U.S. naval history.
'The Camden event was a wonderful event, I
understand. Ours is just a briefing. It won't be as big a presentation
as Camden gave last week,' said Neil Sheridan, an aide to Jersey
City Mayor Bret Schundler.
In Camden, the commission toured the former
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on the Delaware River where the ship
was built. It also toured the bi-state riverfront via boat, and
had lunch overlooking the waterfront.
'We think we have a strong proposal. Camden
gave a strong presentation and I am glad the commission has it
as an option,' said Sheridan.
Jersey City and Camden officials oppose a
third potential site in Bayonne at the former Military Ocean
Terminal, which the commission had more recently been favoring.
No official vote had been taken, however.
Friday's briefing is set for 9:30 a.m. at
Liberty Science Center in Liberty State Park and will end with
a visit to the proposed site for the ship off the park in New
Sheridan said city officials will propose
a walkway be built to the ship for pedestrians - similar to Camden's
plan - rather than ferry access. 'This is not really a change
in our proposal, just a more detailed plan,' he said.
Sheridan said reports that the city would
bar the media from covering the meeting were untrue. 'The press
is being invited,' he said, saying there were some initial concerns
about having enough meeting room space to handle what might be
a flood of reporters and cameramen to cover what has become a
Some commission members privately have expressed
annoyance that Jersey City officials wanted yet another meeting
and are changing their latest proposal.
At a commission meeting last month to which
they were invited, the mayor and his staff made a presentation
on a new placement plan for the ship. They suggested anchoring
it 500 feet out into the harbor and ferrying tourists there from
Liberty State Park.
Jersey City's long-standing proposal to place
it at a shoreside dock at Liberty State Park met with commission
resistance last year because of several factors - the expense
of dredging and bedrock removal that a commission engineering
study said would be required and the need for too many approvals
from regulatory agencies like the Coast Guard and National Park
Azzolina said he agreed to Jersey City's request
for another meeting to be 'fair.'