September 3, 1998|
Aquarium offers to promote battleship
By CAROL COMEGNO
Some members of the USS New Jersey Battleship Commission returned
last week for a private visit and left with more detailed information
about a proposed site for docking the USS New Jersey.
And in another development, the state Aquarium
president has proposed a joint ticketing arrangement that would
bring Aquarium tourists to the battleship if it ends up in Camden.
The Aquarium attracts about 500,000 visitors
"We are committed to providing a cooperative
environment to ensure that the USS New Jersey will both prosper
and receive the number of visitors she deserves," said Michael
I. Crowther, Aquarium president and CEO.
Crowther said his staff also could explore
cooperative marketing to attract visitors to the ship.
Commission Vice Chairman Thomas Gorman called
the Aquarium offer "positive."
"You need to have good, sound marketing
techniques, and it's always good to have multiple attractions,"
The second - and unannounced - Camden visit
on Friday was to get answers to engineering and safety questions,
said the commission's chairman, Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina,
R-Monmouth. Resolving those questions would be necessary if the
commission recommends Camden as the battleship's home.
Twelve of the 14 commissioners attended a
lavish July 31 public presentation in Camden. Only four, including
Azzolina, attended the return trip.
"It was very informative. That's all
I want to say now," Azzolina said Wednesday.
The commissioners spent several hours at a
private meeting in the Harbour League Club with Hudson Engineers
of Camden. They then took a land tour of the proposed Waterfront
site, between the north end of the Beckett Street Marine Terminal
of the South Jersey Port Corp. and the Sony Entertainment Centre
at the southern end of Wiggins Waterfront Park and marina.
At the meeting, engineers presented a slightly
revised position for the ship in the Delaware River, moving it
closer to shore and widening and lengthening to 170 feet a T-shaped
walkway and pier that could handle emergency vehicles.