PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Plans to save the USS Ticonderoga warship are steaming ahead. The Ingalls built ship is scheduled to be cut up for scrap by the end of the year. Several Pascagoula citizens are working vigorously to move the ship to the coast and use it as a tourist attraction.
"We need to bring the TICO home," Veteran Bill Thomas said.
Thomas was one of the many supporters that filled the La Font Inn Thursday for the Save the USS Ticonderoga meeting. The ship has been decommissioned and is now in Pennsylvania. The TICO group feels Pascagoula is the best place for ship because of the city's maritime heritage.
"It is going to bring in tourists, it is going to be a destination city, it is going to increase the use of hotels, restaurants and all that," said Jack Hoover, the president of the Maritime Committee.
Hoover said the Maritime Committee selected Lowery Island as the site for the ship and a museum.
"Lowery Island is north and west of the Highway 90 high rise bridge. It is owned by the State of Mississippi. We have had to go to the Secretary of State to find out if, indeed, it will be available," Hoover said. "There is lease money to be paid; we are looking right now at the cost of that."
Committee Vice President Pat Keene feels the proposed spot is a great location for the Ticonderoga ship. He said there's currently an Engineering Feasibility Study being done in the area.
"We need to determine where we would put the ship, what kind of docks we need, and where we would put the museum," Keene said.
Keene and Hoover believe it's time for South Mississippi to have its first maritime warship museum. They want more people to jump on board as they continue to move full speed ahead with the plans.
"It is scheduled to be used for target gunnery practice, or it can be scraped if we, indeed, we didn't take her," Hoover said.
"It is a very long uphill battle, but several of us have a passion," Keene said.
The TICO group members said they plan to meet with state leaders once the engineering and marketing feasibility studies are completed. They said it will cost more than $10 million to move the ship from the Navy yard in Pennsylvania to Pascagoula. For more information about the project call (228) 235-9236.