Dream of bringing Naval warship museum to Jacksonville is not dead yet

Dream of bringing Naval warship museum to Jacksonville is not dead yet

The dream of bringing a Naval warship museum to downtown Jacksonville is not dead in the water.

Action News Jax reported on Friday that the Navy will not donate the USS Adams to Jacksonville after a local group spent a decade trying to bring it here.

STORY: USS Adams could soon come to Jacksonville after nearly decade of efforts to get it here

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Since then, Action News Jax found out about plans to bring a different warship to Jacksonville instead.

“We just decided to stop knocking our head against the wall and go in a different direction,” said Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association President Dan Bean. “I think that the Navy is getting pressure from a couple of different ships throughout the country for millions of dollars in rescue funds. And the Navy’s process is, why would we put another ship out on the street when we have other ships that are failing?”

Action News Jax is waiting to hear back from a U.S. Navy spokesperson about why it apparently reversed course on the planned USS Adams donation.

Bean said a new opportunity came knocking after the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association announced the donation had fallen through Friday.

“We got a phone call from a historic warship that’s on display. The phone call was, ‘We have a ship without a pier; you have a pier without a ship. Maybe we can work something out,” Bean said.

Bean said a ship that was unsuccessful elsewhere could be successful in Jacksonville.

“This is the third largest Navy city in America. One in every four people walking around the streets of Duval have some form of a military tie,” Bean said.

If Bean’s group can get a ship, it will be Florida’s first and only Naval warship museum.

Bean said the attraction would likely bring in 150,000 tourists a year and would be part of a renaissance for the stagnant shipyards downtown.

Steps away from the pier where the warship museum would go, Berkman Plaza II has sat vacant and unfinished for nearly a decade.

Now it's been sold and the developer has plans for a hotel, amusement park and water park.

Bean said the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association has been communicating with the owner about incorporating the warship museum into those plans.