BEAUMONT, Texas — The City of Beaumont has hired a marine engineering firm to help them determine cost and the precise location of the Battleship Texas if it were to be moved to Southeast Texas.
In July 2021, the city said it was looking into the possibility of Battleship Texas being moved from its current location near the San Jacinto Battleground State historic site to Beaumont.
City Councilman Mike Getz tells 12News they’ve been talking to the Sabine Pilots, Port of Beaumont, KCS and will talk to Army Corps of Engineers in August.
The city is paying $20,000 for the engineering firm to do this meanwhile Baytown, another city fighting to be the ship's permanent home, is going to have to spend $20 million to dredge a channel and maintain that channel, according to Getz.
“Beaumont is in my view the only logical place for it to be,” he said.
The historic ship is tentatively scheduled to be towed to the Gulf Copper Shipyard in Galveston for necessary repairs in mid-August.
After the repairs, the Texas won’t be returned to La Porte, where it’s been since 1948.
Getz says the location where the ship can draw the most revenue is one of the most important factors in deciding its new home.
“When you have Interstate 10 in visual proximity to the Battleship it’s just a no brainer to put the ship in Beaumont. I think we’d be willing to invest money in the infrastructure and hopefully get some money from the state," he said.
The ship is owned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department but because it is operated by the Battleship Texas Foundation, the foundation would be responsible for maintenance fees and not taxpayers, according to Getz.
City leaders want the ship to be visible from the Neches River Bridge. The council previously 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.
Even if they acquired the land, the city must build the dock and make the ship accessible.
A representative with the Battleship Texas Foundation said that organizing the logistics is a slow process. If the city council approves of the move, it's projected that permit approvals could potentially take years.
An estimated grand reopening date of the ship is scheduled for late 2023, according to the Battleship Texas Foundation website.