A small patch of the city-owned Shipyards property along the Northbank may soon become home to Jacksonville Naval Museum.
Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association is seeking conceptual approval from the Downtown Development Review Board for a new museum featuring Navy destroyer ship USS Orleck at Pier 1 within the Shipyards property. The museum would consist of the Orleck itself stationed at the pier, acting as a floating Navy museum focusing on the “US Navy Cold War Experience,” with a walk-over ramp leading to a temporary, prefabricated guest services building located along the Riverwalk – which would eventually be expanded to accommodate the project.
The guest services building would feature a ticket and gift shop as well as restrooms and administrative offices. In addition to the building, plans show a brick memorial walkway and a flag plaza on the site.
The DDRB proposal builds on a previous agreement with Downtown Investment Authority to relocate USS Orleck from Lake Charles, LA, to downtown Jacksonville. The Orleck, named for Lt. Joseph Orleck who was killed in action during World War II, saw most of its action during the Vietnam War before being sold to Turkey. It’s been used as a museum off and on since 2000.
The proposal cites the city’s large veteran and active-service military population, the need for more tourist attractions downtown, and job creation as some of their arguments in favor of the project.
The museum’s building will be temporary so as to be relocated if its location interferes with the eventual development of the Shipyards property, but the site will also be prepared so as to allow for a permanent building to be constructed at a later date.
Parking is not currently proposed along with the project, with the group suggesting that nearby public parking options will be adequate to support it.
The group’s proposal will be discussed at the next DDRB meeting on October 8.