Decommissioned US Navy Frigate sought for display in Presque Isle Bay

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The Erie Bayfront is on the wake of getting a major new permanent attraction.

JET 24, FOX 66, and YourErie.com has learned work has been quietly underway for many months to secure a Perry Class Frigate to be permanently moored in Presque Isle Bay off Dobbins Landing.

The Navy ship originally eyed for what’s being called the Oliver “Hazard” Perry Shipyard is the former USS Kauffman, now decommissioned and located in a Navy shipyard in Philadelphia.  

UPDATE: The US Navy had given several levels of approval and support for the transfer of the ship to Erie for the project.  However, in an 11th hour development following an inspection of the ship, it was determined to be unsuitable for this project. Now local supporters are talking about another Perry Class Frigate. One of those under consideration is the USS Halyburton

A contingent from Erie working on the project, including local engineers, visited the ship several times in recent months.  In addition, money has been raised from private donors to launch a capitol campaign to raise funds to transfer the ship to Erie and create the shipyard.    

Also, we’ve learned Rep. Mike Kelly has made a request for federal funding to help dredge Presque Isle Bay, where the ship will be moored.

According to the plan, the Perry Class Frigate would be for veterans, their families, military organizations, and the public to welcome, educate and inform about the Naval and military history of Erie and Northwestern Pennsylvania. It would be open for tours and special events. 

Based on the current information, Perry Shipyards and the Erie Western PA Port Authority have identified a water site west of Dobbins Landing and north of the Bayfront Sheraton parking garage.   It’s proposed to be located 50 to 100 feet off Dobbins Landing.

The Oliver Hazard Perry Shipyard and the Frigate will operate as non-profit organization.  The move to bring a ship to Erie is the work and vision of Pfadt. The US Army veteran leads the highly successful Warriors to Washington program, is a longtime member of the Presque Isle Advisory Committee and is a retired Harborcreek High School history teacher. 

This is a developing story.  We will have more on JET 24 and FOX 66. 

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