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Beaumont remains in the running for Battleship Texas despite delayed decision from city council

This week, city leaders realized the spot they'd picked for the ship would block the view of the river.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Beaumont remains in the running to become the home of Battleship Texas even though the city council delayed a decision on the issue this week.

We're up against Baytown, but Beaumont city leaders have quite a challenge.

This week, they realized the spot they'd picked for the ship would block the view of the river.

But the issue goes deeper than that. In order to create a tourist attraction, the ship needs to be visible to travelers on I-10.

Tuesday's discussion was on where the ship might go if brought to Beaumont. While it's an interesting idea that has gained some steam.

Early projections are showing that could cost around $5 million.

It started in July as just an idea, but now it's a possibility. And it was Councilman Mike Getz who got it all started.

"I think some of the city council members are more open to it now than they were originally," Getz said.

He's right.

"It changed my view in more of the positive for promoting tourism in Beaumont, something we've wanted for a long time," said Beaumont Mayor Robin Mouton.

But that doesn't mean all hands on deck or that anyone's even completely on board.

On Tuesday, the council discussed a location further north in the Neches River, to avoid blocking the view from the Riverfront Park. The problem is that the city doesn't own that land.

Leaders want the ship to be visible from the Neches River Bridge. Even if they acquire the land, the city must build the dock and make the ship accessible.

"We don’t just pull up there and throw a ganway over in the dirt and say ‘Hey we're open.’ Nobody budgeted any money for this, and so every location presents a different challenge," said Bruce Bramlett with Battleship Texas Foundation.

Councilman Getz, still sees the pros outweighing the cons.

"If the taxpayers spend $5 million to get $10 million not just the first year but every year thereafter, that would be a good investment," Getz said.

Getz points to the USS Alabama docked in mobile, Alabama as proof of the potential of this kind of tourist attraction visible from I-10.

"You've got 200,000 a people a day that goes across that bridge, if we could just siphon off a small fraction of that we would meet our goals of 250,000 annual visitors a year," Getz said. 

With all that said, Bramlett with the Battleship Texas Foundation said on Thursday that this is a slow process, and he doesn't necessarily see the ship being moved in his lifetime.

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