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Museum directors across Beaumont gather to discuss Battleship Texas' move to Neches River downtown

Beaumont City Councilman Mike Getz says directors met this week to hear a presentation from Battleship Texas Foundation representatives.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Leaders of museums across Southeast Texas are pushing to make the idea of bringing Battleship Texas to Beaumont become a reality.

Beaumont City Councilman Mike Getz announced Wednesday that the directors of museums in Beaumont came together this week to hear a presentation from Battleship Texas Foundation representatives.

“Following the presentation, it was the opinion of the various museum directors that bringing the Battleship Texas to Beaumont would enhance the viability of and the attendance at the other museums in Beaumont,” Getz said Wednesday.

The city council member also said the directors agreed to seek letters of support from their board members to endorse bringing Battleship Texas to Beaumont.

Beaumont City Council received a letter in January from the Beaumont Board of Realtors endorsing the idea of bringing the ship to Beaumont, according to a previous 12News article. 

Organizations such as the Jefferson County Historical Commission, the Neches River Festival, and the Beaumont Main Street have also endorsed bringing the ship to Beaumont.

The decision to move forward ultimately depends on the Beaumont City Council, which has delayed the decision on the issue multiple times.

 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.

Early projections showed that bringing the ship to Beaumont could cost around $5.275 million on the low-end estimate. The estimate does not include parking requirements, the location for ticket sales, a gift shop, a dock for the ship, and other utilities. 

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.

Relocating the ship to a spot where the tourist attraction will be visible to travelers on I-10 has also proved to be a challenge.

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.

Outside of Beaumont, Battleship Texas has a chance of being moved to Baytown.

An estimated grand reopening date of the ship is scheduled for late 2023, according to the Battleship Texas Foundation website.

Battleship Texas is currently closed to the public and is scheduled for repairs in summer 2022 at a Galveston Shipyard.

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