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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
 
South Jersey

Monday, December 18, 1998

Camden County freeholders approve
funds for battleship consultant


By JEFF BEACH
Gannett News Service

MAGNOLIA - South Jersey's fight to bring the USS New Jersey battleship to Camden got a boost Thursday as the Camden County freeholders earmarked $100,000 to hire consultants to craft an application to the Navy.

The money will pay for environmental and safety consultants, whose input could help sway the Navy's decision about a permanent berth, as well as consultants who know their way around Washington to guide the application through the government bureaucracy.

The Home Port Alliance - a group of government, civic and military veteran volunteers - is preparing the application, aimed at dissuading the Navy from accepting the USS New Jersey Battleship Commission's recommendation that the warship be brought to Bayonne as a museum. It is currently docked in Washington State.

''These are very specialized consultants that we need,'' Freeholder Patricia Jones said. ''We're competing with the commission's application, and they've had 18 years to put theirs together.''

Besides the county money, the federally funded Camden Empowerment Zone Corp. will add $50,000 to the pool for consultants, Empowerment Zone board member Frank Fulbrook said.

Jones said the technical consultants are important because they can demonstrate that a freshwater Delaware River berth would require less maintenance than Bayonne's saltier water and that Camden is safer because other commercial vessels would maneuver closer to the warship in Bayonne.

The Home Port Alliance also this week set its first fund-raiser for the effort, a $62-a-head reception at the Harbour League Club in Camden on Feb. 3. The price was set to be both affordable to the largest number of people and also because 62 is the battleship's number, Jones said.



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