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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mayor Proposes $400,000 to Move Wawona

Mayor Greg Nickels has proposed spending $400,000 in 2007 to dry dock the schooner Wawona as part of a plan to move her from South Lake Union Park. The mayor's proposal, contained in his proposed 2007-2008 Parks Department capital budget, provides for the removal of the 1897 city landmark to dry dock, where the vessel could be stablized for later display. However, demolishing at least some of the vessel is still an option. "The project may include removing and preserving key features, and demolishing the remainder," the proposal says. "Key features that may be preserved include the aft section, the masts, and other specific pieces showing the construction and workmanship involved in the vessel's construction."

The Museum of History & Industry, which wants to move to South Lake Union Park, and Northwest Seaport, which owns Wawona, has been negotiating with the city on a plan to put Wawona on land for display. The city had threatened to demolish the ship if she weren't moved from SLUP by Sept. 30. The budget proposal suggests that the city has backed off from its threat, and is willing to work with MOHAI and NWS on a display plan that could be a centerpiece of the park. It's unclear exactly how the city came up with the amount, although some estimates have placed the cost of barging Wawona to another location at $400,000 to $500,000.

All Wawona supporters should contact the city council and ask them to support the budget proposal and even increase it, on condition that the ship be preserved whole, not in pieces.

What do you think? Is this good news? Or is there something more going on? Please comment via the link below.


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