A New London site has officially been chosen for the location of a national Coast Guard museum, Mayor Daryl Finizio announced this afternoon.
Finizio said the National Coast Guard Museum Association unanimously approved a site within the city for the museum. He said the preliminary agreements and endorsements also included input from property abutters, stakeholders, Coast Guard officials, and representatives of the local, state, and federal government.
Details of the project—including the location, investors, a model design of the museum, and a booklet on the exhibits to be featured—will be unveiled in a reception at 10 a.m. on April 5 at the Science and Technology Magnet High School. Attendees will include Admiral Robert J. Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard; James Coleman, chair of the National Coast Guard Museum Association; and Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Finizio said the museum will be one of the “largest tourist destinations in all of eastern Connecticut,” with visitor estimates ranging from 250,000 to 1 million people per year.
“This museum will not only be a transformative, educational, and economic development driver for our city and our state, but it will also be a national treasure for our country,” he said.
Finizio said the proposal is complex, with numerous parties involved. He said he and his staffers have been involved in the process for a year, and that the museum association will be working to raise funds through private investors.
“It’s a tremendous thing to be given the opportunity to be even a part of a project like this and it’s a tremendous honor for the city,” he said. “And what I will concentrate my efforts on, and make a top priority of my administration, is seeing to it that we see this through to completion.”
Chief Administrative Officer Jane Glover said residents should be excited about the development and thanked Finizio for his work in the proposal.
“He worked very hard for a year and I personally want to give him kudos for bringing this to New London,” she said. “I have seen this for years, people bring ideas and they kind of go away and they don’t even get this far. They’re all just still on paper. This, as he’s announced to you, is going to be a big announcement in April and I think the New London citizenry needs to know that.”
In 2004, Congress passed a bill approving the construction of a national Coast Guard museum at or near the Coast Guard Academy, following the 2002 selection of Fort Trumbull as a preferred site. The eminent domain battle at the peninsula, coupled with stalled fundraising efforts during an economic downtown, put a stop to this effort.
Last year, Finizio on issues related to New London and the service. He later announced that the Coast Guard would be looking at sites within New London for building the museum.
The National Coast Guard Museum Association .
The service has a significant presence in New London. In addition to the Coast Guard Academy, Fort Trumbull houses Coast Guard Research and Development, the International Ice Patrol, and Station New London. The tall ship Eagle, a training vessel, is also berthed there along with the cutter Chinook.