Evansville City Council is staring down the barrel of a $3 million move. The LST 325 is eyeing a new home on the riverfront, but it can’t happen without city leadership signing off.
Crew on the old warship has been talking about the move for years, and since Tropicana’s transfer to land, it’s finally possible. There is just one big hurdle to clear Monday night.
“It just reminds me how difficult it was to take an army and move it to Europe and invade a beach,” said Paul Reising, visiting the ship from Terre Haute. “How many thousands of miles away?”
The LST has operated across the globe; from Africa, to Italy, and the beaches of Normandy. Some might argue its most important journey is just a mile down river.
“From the latrines, to the weapons, to the kitchen, to the electrical, I mean, logistical things,” added Reising.
There’s a lot of logistics in moving the old ship to the spot where the Tropicana casino once floated.
It’ll cost the city $2.7 million to build a new dock and visitors center.
Kathy Schmitt, a retired teacher, thinks it’ll be money well spent. “Very much of a draw for Evansville to have this in a more conducive place for people to see it.”
The only opinions that matter now are those of nine City Council members, who decide on Monday whether the LST gets their money.
Council President Jim Brinkmeyer (D–Ward 6), H. Dan Adams (D–At-Large), Dan McGinn (I–Ward 1), and Michelle Mercer (R–At-Large) all support funding.
Missy Mosby (D–Ward 2) and Justin Elpers (R–Ward 5) are hesitant.
Connie Robinson (D–Ward 4) and Jonathan Weaver (D–At-Large) are undecided.
John Hayden (R–Ward 3) didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Tropicana has offered $1 million to get the boat out of the river bend. LST leadership says attendance could double with a new spot downtown.
“The history is amazing,” said Schmitt. “To see it was done here in Evansville and so many people’s lives were touched by what we were able to do here.”
There could be at least one more chapter in the ship’s storied history if the vote is favorable next week.
“More people will see it down on the riverfront and I think it’d be a nice addition to the landscape,” Reising said.
Editors note: This story was corrected to reflect Councilman Weaver being undecided. An earlier version said he planned to vote no based on a misunderstanding of a question.
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(This story was originally published August 8, 2018)