Share this article

print logo

Council fails to act on plan to bring ship to harbor

City Council took no action Tuesday on a proposal -- that has some local support -- to bring the historic USS Sphinx to the harbor area as a tourism draw.

Some estimates have been as much as $3.5 million to bring the ship to the Dunkirk waterfront area.

The proposal is supported by the Dunkirk Historic Lighthouse and Veterans Museum, which in 2002 took ownership of the ship. It was donated to the museum by the Navy. The ship was decommissioned in 1989.

Kurt Warmbrodt, a city resident, cautioned the Council Tuesday that there are several areas of concern that need to be addressed, including the fact that the vessel might contain lead, which could pose a problem if the ship is moored near the city's water intake area in the harbor.

He also noted that the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have raised other issues regarding the environmental impact of having the ship in the harbor.

Another resident of the Beach Street area cautioned that some may consider the ship an eyesore.

The Sphinx, commissioned in 1944, served as a landing craft repair ship during World War II off Japan. It later participated in the atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands and even later was used to transport refugees during the Vietnam War.

The lighthouse museum group wants to bring the ship, built by Bethlehem Steel in Massachusetts, to the Dunkirk Harbor in an effort to raise funds to restore it.

In other news, the Council:

* Learned that electric-powered vehicles will be purchased by the Police Department for patrols in the harbor and parks areas. Police Chief David Ortolano said a state grant will finance the purchase.

* Voted 4-1 to rehire parking and dog control officer Wallace Baker.

There are no comments - be the first to comment