The USS LST 325 has been in it’s current location since 2005, and while moving two nautical miles down the Ohio River to the space once occupied by the Tropicana Riverboat Casino may seem straight forward, the preparation has been complicated.
The crew has been working together with the city of Evansville, the Morley design firm, and Tropicana, which leases the space the historic ship will move to.
“And they obviously have a very, very vested interest in what happens there, because it’s directly adjacent to, what did they just spend, 50 million dollars on their casino?” asked John Tallent, the president of USS LST Ship Memorial Inc.
Reps from Morley met with the Evansville Site Review Committee Monday to go over plans for the relocation, and a visitors center, which will go up just west of the Le Merigot overpass on the river front side, and include a gift shop.
There are also plans for a bus drop off area, but the City Engineer says working out how to maintain proper green space and sidewalk length is an ongoing process.
“To have the LST, first of all, is a unique opportunity for the city,” Brent Schmitt said. “But to move something of this magnitude to the heart of that riverfront, right there with the casino, and the hotels and everything, it’ll just make it that much more accessible to the residents and visitors of Evansville.”
Morley is still working on designing a mooring system to keep the ship in place, and also plans to reuse some of the riverboat casino’s assets like the pathway onto the ship. The casino had a 24/7 staff, but the LST will need to use a passive mooring system that keeps the ship in place when people aren’t here, like it does at its current location.
Accessibility is key, and the LST projects it will be able to double its visitors with the move.
“They can not only come down to a historical ship, they can see a bunch of historical sailors.”
Morley says if everything goes according to plan, the hope is to have the project complete by late spring next year.
(This story was originally published on April 23, 2018)