It’s smooth sailing ahead for Evansville’s LST 325 after the city council approved funding to relocate the old warship.

It was a packed house Monday night at the civic center in downtown Evansville as LST supporters made passionate pleas in support of funding the relocation project, but one city council member had reservations.

The waters got a little choppy at one point for the supporters as one member of the council wanted to table the vote, but in the end the majority of the council decided it’s full speed ahead for the old warship.

“Now we’ve got to go to work,” said LST board member Chris Donahue. “Watch what you wish for.”

They’ve wished for it for years and now the work will begin.

Donahue said the ship’s board of directors will meet Tuesday to begin planning the ship’s move downstream.  This, after the city council gave its financial blessing of nearly $3 million, money one council member wasn’t ready to hand over just yet.

“It’s not that I’m against this because I think it’s a great opportunity,” said city council member Missy Mosby. “I just feel like we have some unanswered questions that we need to get answered.”

Mosby, the only vote against funding the relocation said she couldn’t vote for it without knowing what’s in the city’s next budget. But city officials quickly fired back saying the money used for this project isn’t eligible for anything else in that budget.

They also noted Tropicana is handing over $1 million to help pay for the new dock and welcome center.

“The LST 325 and Tropicana both share a similar daytime demographic and we believe both could benefit from each other’s proximity as well, said Tropicana’s Stacey McNeill.”

Donahue said at its current location the LST attracts between 10,000 to 12,000 visitors a year.  The move downstream, he said, could double that.”

“Right now we’re closed 30% of the year,” said Donahue. “November through even March, I think.  That’s not good. You’re wasting 30% of your time. Down there we’ll probably be open every day.”

Funding the ship’s relocation passed the council 8 to 1.

The new dock and welcome center are expected could go out to bid in September.

LST officials hope to have the ship moved to its new spot by July of next year.

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(This story was originally published August 13, 2018)