Mayor's Office Preparing Pitch for LST 325 to Stay in Evansville

Published 04/21 2014 06:27PM

Updated 04/21 2014 06:40PM

A pivotal week in deciding the fate of the LST 325. Will it stay in the river city or sail on to Peoria, Illinois? The LST's contract with Evansville expires soon and Peoria is trying to lure the vessel to dock on the Illinois River. Members of the LST Board of Directors want to find new ways to get people to visit the ship. The fact that the number of visitors has been dropping is not a surprise to some in Evansville. "What you find is that people see the LST. It's a one time experience. Unless there's some reason to go back just because you haven't been there in awhile there's not a reason to go back," said Evansville Convention and Visitor's Bureau Director Bob Warren.
LST board members have talked about moving the ship closer to the action in downtown Evansville, but that may not be an option. A licensed boat captain said the bend where the LST would dock in is the most dangerous in the entire Ohio River. Docking a ship the size of the LST closer to the bend would only make it more treacherous and the U.S. Corps of Engineers has shot down the idea in the past.

"We've got some good plans that we are putting in front of the LST Board. The mayor's office has been absolutely comprehensive in their attempt to keep the LST." CVB Director Bob Warren would not go into specific plans, but he did hint at changing the way the LST is marketed. Possibly turning it into more of a museum on water. "They consider them to be static attractions. If you've got a museum and you're not constantly turning displays and doing different things to attract people the numbers will wane," said Warren.
An Evansville Parks Board member said extending the Greenway past the LST was discussed as recently as last week. Which would add more foot traffic closer to the attraction. However nothing substantial came out of those discussions.
Mayor Winnecke's Office will meet with LST board members Thursday to discuss plans of keep the ship in Evansville. LST board members will hold a public meeting on Saturday.

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