BEAUMONT, Texas — The City of Beaumont and the City of Baytown are no longer under consideration to become the new home of Battleship Texas.
The ship was moved from the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in La Porte to Galveston in August 2022 so it could undergo much-needed repairs. Once those repairs are complete, the ship will not be returned to La Porte.
The city first announced it was looking into the possibility of moving Battleship Texas to Beaumont in July 2021.
The Battleship Texas Foundation announced on March 1, 2023 that Beaumont and Baytown are no longer under consideration to be the permanent home of Battleship Texas.
The selection process will continue to determine the best location for the Battleship. The final determination will occur in the coming months, according to a release from the The Battleship Texas Foundation.
Beaumont City Councilman Mike Getz has been a longtime advocate for bringing the Battleship Texas to Beaumont.
He, and many others, are disappointed by this outcome.
"it's not really surprising, considering the lack of unanimity on council for this project, we simply ran out of time, the Battleship Texas had to make a decision on where they would put the ship," Getz said.
With both cities out of the running, all signs seem to point to Galveston becoming the vessels new permanent dock.
Getz led the push for Beaumont to become the ship's new home and can't help but feel like it's a missed opportunity.
"I think if all of council would have been behind this from the very beginning and aggressively pursued it, it would be coming to Beaumont, I really do," Getz said.
Now, Getz and council will turn the focus to other projects in downtown Beaumont.
"We're still going to be going forward with a lot of things downtown, this would have just been a bonus thing," Getz said.
Getz says he appreciated the efforts and resources the City of Beaumont put into the possibility of bringing Battleship Texas to the city.
"I would have liked to have seen it happen, but it wasn't meant to be," Getz said.
On October 11, 2022, Beaumont City Council passed a motion that would allow the city to continue to pursue bringing Battleship Texas to Beaumont.
The biggest concern from Southeast Texans was how much will docking the ship in the area cost the city.
Getz previously told 12News it would cost six to 24 million dollars to actually build the infrastructure that would allow the ship to be in Beaumont.
"That funding will come from three different sources, the state of Texas, the Battleship Texas fund, and some from the City of Beaumont," he said.
Beaumont native Cierra Henry thought this will be good for the kids in the area.
"I mean we actually need more stuff in Beaumont, you know especially for a piece of history to be brought here. It will give the kids a chance to learn about something," she previously told 12News.
District 4 Texas Senator Brandon Creighton recognized Councilman Getz's efforts and supported the idea.
"In order to support Battleship Texas' relocation to Downtown Beaumont and the countless benefits it will bring to the community, I pledge to work with my colleagues in the Legislature to secure funding to assist with the cost of bringing Battleship Texas to downtown Beaumont," she said.
In July 2022, council members hired an engineering firm to help them determine the cost of getting the battleship to Beaumont. The city paid $20,000 for the engineering firm to do this.
Option one would cost the city $6.5 million and it wouldn't require any additional dredging.
Option two would cost $21.6 million and option three would be $24.5 million.
The council agreed options two and three, are out of the question.
"I'm not gonna support spending that kind of money for the dredging. That it would take, I never was going to support that," Getz said.
Option one would require the federal government to de-authorize the Neches River ship channel, which means the feds would not be responsible for fixing damage from natural disasters.
For this reason, Council Member Audwin Samuel voted against moving forward with the project.
"Someone else would have to pay for those damages and that means that would be the city. That means there's gonna be additional liability or additional cost," Samuel said.
If Beaumont became the ship's new home, the historical floating museum would've docked in the Neches River behind the Edison Plaza. Drivers would be able to see it as they travel along Interstate 10.
Galveston, Baytown and Beaumont were all vying to become the battleship's new home.
Early projections showed that bringing the ship to Beaumont could cost more than $5 million on the low-end estimate. The estimate does not include parking requirements, the location for ticket sales, or a gift shop.
Getz previously said he believed Beaumont is the only logical place for Battleship Texas to be.