Erie’s Bayfront could be getting a major new attraction in the form of a Perry Class Missile Frigate.
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 non-profit organization, “The Oliver Hazard Perry Shipyard” is currently in talks with the United States Navy for the project.
The Navy has given several levels of approval and support for the transfer of the ship from Philadelphia to Erie.
“You are dealing with an institution that wants to present themselves well and they want to make sure they are in places to present themselves and there is no greater place to me than to see that Navy spirit that is very much alive in the Erie, Pa. maritime community.”said Joe Pfadt, CEO.
The plan is for the 455 ft ship to be used as a floating museum, opened to the public for tours, events, and to assist in U.S. Navy activities. There were 51 Oliver Hazard Perry Class Frigates put in service in the 1980s and retired from active service in 2015.
“Don’t Give Up the Ship” It was during the Battle of Lake Erie that Oliver Hazard Perry hoisted the famous flag on the USS Brig Niagara and defeated the British fleet at Put-In-Bay over 200 years ago.
Pfadt says this would be a great addition to Erie’s already rich maritime history.
“We are so fortunate here in Erie that we have this position and this spot where you can go to the ground where great events occurred for Perry and Dobbins to have the vision to build the fleet that they did here that, ultimately, would go into Put-In-Bay and defeat the most powerful fleet in the world, the British.” Pfadt said.
Erie residents think the addition would also be a big boost to the local economy.
“I think it’s a great idea. I think it will be really cool to have another thing to come down and look at and that will bring profit to the city and we definitely need that right now.” said Sydney Kuerner.
“This is one more place they can visit, of course, when they are staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants. It just benefits Erie all around, especially the downtown area.” said Shannon Colussi, General Manager of the Bayfront Grille.
According to Pfadt, more details of Oliver Hazard Perry shipyard are to be released next week at a news conference.
We’ve also learned that Rep. Mike Kelly has made a request for federal funding to help dredge Presque Isle Bay, where the ship will be moored.
The plan is to have the ship here by fall 2022.