• Push to bring historic naval ship, USS Orleck, to Jacksonville

    By: Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The clock is ticking for the city of Jacksonville where officials are faced with the decision of whether or not to welcome home a historic naval ship.

    Action News Jax broke the news back in June when Navy veterans revealed their decision to bring the USS Orleck to downtown Jacksonville.

    Before the Orleck, the Jacksonville Historical Naval Ship Association was working to bring in the USS Adams for 10 years.

    Ultimately, the deal fell through back in the fall of 2018.

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    A nonprofit in Louisiana has agreed to hand over the Orleck to the group of veterans. The city has until mid-November to say "yes" or it could be a goner.

    "They either transfer the ship to us or they send the ship to salvage so they're on a very tight deadline." Daniel Bean, president of the Jacksonville Historical Naval Ship Association, said.

    We reached out to the Downtown Investment Authority, directly, for comment. Instead, we received a statement from the city:

    "At this point, I don't know whether the DIA will recommend a lease for the Orleck or not. We have requested operating pro forma information and other financial data to determine the viability of the operation, and an explanation of how they plan to address parking. We do not want an ongoing financial obligation or to commit prime waterfront space to a use that isn't going to be an asset to ongoing redevelopment efforts. That said,  the concept of a naval ship museum and attraction is certainly something we support. The earliest this could go before the DIA Board would be November 13 and I believe the old lease for the Adams went through City Council so it would be January before there is an answer."

    Bean said the Orleck will have an economic impact of $3 million to 4 million on the city.

    "We believe that a warship accentuates the shipyard process and the experience to build on J-District for folks to be able to walk down here and experience that," Bean said. "We're ready to pull the trigger, but we've got to have a place to stay."

    City officials said they believe the concept of a naval ship museum is something they support, but they just want more information. 

    Bean said his organization is working to get the raw data for the city.

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