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January 6, 2013

LST-325 warship off to Texas for repairs

EVANSVILLE — A restored World War II troop landing ship is being prepped for a journey from southwestern Indiana to Texas for repairs and maintenance work.

The Evansville-based LST-325 will set sail today with a crew of 50 on a weeklong trek down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Port Arthur, Texas, where it will spend about six weeks in dry dock.

USS LST Ship Memorial board of directors member Chris Donahue tells the Evansville Courier & Press the 70-year-old ship needs to go into dry dock every 10 years “to maintain the integrity of the ship” and its status as a sailing vessel. He says its bow and hull will get extensive refurbishing.

The ship saw action during the World War II D-Day invasion of France in 1944.

The ship has twice visited Jeffersonville’s riverfront and early last year its board of directors met with city officials to discuss the possibility of the historic ship relocating to Jeffersonville permanently. While city officials at the time were hopeful about the possibilities the ship could bring to the city, the future of that endeavor now seems uncertain, Mayor  Mike Moore said.

Uncertainty was cast on LST 325’s future in Jeffersonville by the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau in October, when the board received for review a feasibility study on bringing the ship to town. At the time, board members said the report did not contain enough detailed information or recommendations to the authority on how the city should proceed with the its plans for the warship.

Moore said talks about bringing LST 325 to Jeffersonville permanently never really moved out of the early stages of consideration and the plan was always contingent upon support from the tourism board, which now appears isn’t there.

“There was a lot of disappointment that we had this study done and there were still so many unanswered questions,” Moore said. “I would love to see Jeff host it again. But right now, that’s about as far as I can commit.”



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