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April 22, 2014

LST ship not moving to Jeffersonville

Evansville, Peoria finalists for WW II-era boat

EVANSVILLE — The USS LST Ship Memorial board will decide between two cities to determine the World War II-era military craft will moor for the next decade.

Neither of the two cities being considered is Jeffersonville.

City officials had reacted with interest when the USS LST 325’s board of directors met with them in Evansville to discuss the possibility, but the plan fell by the wayside some months ago.

The two cities in the running are the LST’s current host city Evansville, and Peoria, Ill.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said the financial obligations that would have come with hosting the boat would have been too great.

“We made every attempt to try to come to an agreement,” Moore said. “We sat down with the LST committee from Evansville, but basically, they wanted a commitment from the city for about $3 million. We reached out to the tourism bureau, and it was beyond their capabilities.”

LST board member Chris Donahue confirmed the estimate Moore provided for the cost to locate the USS LST 325 in Jeffersonville, and said the figure “might be on the low side.”

“We felt good about Jeffersonville over there, with its proximity to Louisville,” Donahue said, “but we understand when people start hearing these dollar figures, we understand how municipal monies go.”

Donahue told Evansville media that the ship would be moved if a less remote location cannot be found in Evansville, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

The LST 325’s fate will be known by mid-May, Donahue said.  

LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank, according to the website lstmemorial.org.

“These ships were designed in 1942 to land battle-ready tanks, vehicles, soldiers and supplies directly onto enemy beaches,” according to the website. “Over 1,000 of these ships were built for World War II.”

Many were built at JeffBoat in Jeffersonville, but not the ship in question, which has visited Jeffersonville’s riverfront in the past.

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