The Port of LA released a draft environmental impact report yesterday for the plan to set up the USS Iowa battleship as a tourist attraction at Berth 87 in the North Harbor. No extra dredging will be necessary to accommodate the ship, which ferried Franklin Roosevelt to the Tehran Conference in 1943. It'll share a parking lot with other port facilities and be joined by a couple small, prefab buildings to serve as a ticket booth and a restroom for Phase I. But, in the words Robert Kent, the president of the group that lobbied to bring the boat to San Pedro (as quoted in the Daily Breeze): "You pretty much have a pier where ships have been berthed and, guess what, we're putting a ship there." The draft EIR says that the boat will be open from 10 am to 5 pm, seven days a week. About 430,000 people are expected to visit in the first year, "stabilizing to 386,000 during subsequent years." Kent thinks that the Iowa can do for the Ports O' Call village and the rest of the area what the Midway aircraft carrier did for San Diego's Seaport Village (i.e. bring people there to hang out and spend money), and with the recent news about the Bergamot-developed craft market and the town square project, it does seem like the Port is going to be seeing a lot of action soon.
Phase 2 of the project would replace the prefab ticket booth and restrooms with a permanent, two-story visitor center with "educational exhibits, murals, models, artifacts, audio- visual presentations, food, concessions, gift shop, offices, ticketing, and restroom facilities." That won't happen until six to eight years after Phase I is finished.
The draft EIR is open for public comment through March 7 and things are going to move along pretty quickly. A Port of LA spokesperson tells the Daily Breeze that they hope to get the final EIR in front of the Board of Harbor Commissioners for approval in April and bring the ship down from NorCal in May.
· Port Getting Bathtubbed Battleship USS Iowa For Floating Museum [Curbed LA]
· Draft EIR released on plan to bring USS Iowa to San Pedro [Daily Breeze]
· Draft EIR - USS Iowa Project [Port of LA]