LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Lake Charles city council unanimously voted to allow the World War Two destroyer to dock in Lake Charles.
After a year of discussions, the city and supporters of the USS Orleck have reached an agreement. The ship will arrive on April 2, 2010. It will dock in a temporary location for a year, on the Calcasieu river, for maintenance. Veterans in the area believe this is a good thing for southwest Louisiana.
"This means a lot for us and the city. There is going to be some groups that come here as soon as the Orleck is in shape. There's going to be some reunions, some boy scouts come and spend the night on the ship," said Albert Duplantis.
But, before they said yes, the city wanted to make sure they were covered in the event the ship was damaged. The Orleck group has secured wreck insurance that will cover up to 1- million dollars to remove the ship.
"There was a lot of going back and forth, behind the scenes, to make sure everyone's concern was included in the agreement," said Orleck Board Vice Chairman, Ronald Williams.
Despite their victory, it is not all smooth sailing for the Orleck. Eventually, they would like to move the ship to the lake front, and if it is to become a permanent floating fixture in Lake Charles, the people of Lake Charles will have to vote on it.
"I am optimistic, because there is so much people don't know about the boat. I know that, when they find out about the boat, they are really going get excited about it," said Williams.
The Orleck board hopes to have the ship ready for occupants in six months. This would allow them to begin raising money and awareness about the World War Two destroyer, in hopes city residents will approve.
If the residents vote to keep the Orleck around, the Orleck board will have three years to get the lake front ready for it. If voters decide it is not a benefit for the area, then the board will have one year to have the ship towed to a scrap yard.