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USS Adams Moves Closer To Becoming A Downtown Jacksonville Attraction

The retired USS Adams war ship could be a fixture on the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville as early as January.

Plans are to turn the Adams into a naval museum.

The association spearheading the effort to bring the naval battleship back to the River City has finally secured funding.

The Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association has cobbled together $2.8 million in donations, state grants and loans to move the Adams from Philadelphia to Jacksonville. The money includes funding for repairing it and the defunct docks in downtown.

The Downtown Investment Authority has the final say on the project, but is expected to approve it soon. DIA has to give the association a license that it then has to provide to the U.S. Navy before the ship is officially released. The investment authority is considering a 10-year licensing agreement with two five-year renewals built in.

“We’re closer today than we were yesterday,” Association president Daniel Bean said.

Bean said the plan is for topside tours of the vessel that could begin as early as a month after the Adams docks in Jacksonville. That way the association can collect revenue for continuing renovations below deck.

The Adams is part of a larger vision for redeveloping the Jacksonville Shipyards. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s Iguana Investments Florida was picked by the Downtown Investment Authority to be the master devoloper of the area includes merging the Shipyards and Metropolitan Park into a mixed-use residential and entertainment district.

Bean said, though far into the future, he expects the Adams to eventually be swapped out for a younger ship after the 20-year contract ends. That’s mainly because Naval ships generally cannot survive being docked in water very long without movement or significant mechanical repairs.

Editor’s Note: Bean is the outgoing chairman of WJCT’s Board of Trustees

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.