By Carol McCracken (Post # 363)
By a unanimous vote, the city council voted to support reloacting the USS John F. Kennedy to Portland Harbor. This unanimous vote authorizes the Mayor to send a letter to the U. S. Navy on behalf of the “JFK for ME” Museum Committee’s effort to obtain ownership of the ship and bring it to Portland Harbor.
The Navy has decommissioned the aircraft John F. Kennedy and is willing to give the ship to a nonprofit organization as long as the host city supports the move. Retired naval vessels have served as successful tourist attractions and it is with this in mind that the city supported the resolution. Councilor Jill Duson said it could be a “major attraction”, but it should also be remembered that the city doesn’t have resources. It would be a great idea for the whole region, but we need to proceed with caution.”
The USS John F. Kennedy Museum Committee, (“JFK for ME”) is is a non-profit organization set-up by William Higgins to obtain ownership of the aircraft carrier and relocate it to Portland. “JFK for ME” proposed to undertake this task at no expense to the city or its taxpayers. Fund raising would start soon for this project.
According to an article in “The Boston Globe” in November, one member of the Boston City Council is likewise interested in returning the ship to Boston. “It will be hard for us to compete with a city that has a warm climate that could attract visitors every month of the year, or one with a deep-water port,” said Stephen Murphy. “Right now, we do not have a suitable location inside the harbor.” Massachusetts already has one decomissioned ship – the USS Massachusetts battleship.