December 18, 1998 |
County freeholders approve
funds for battleship consultant
By JEFF BEACH
Gannett News Service
- 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
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
''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.