Group Works to Bring Battleship to Baytown
Monday, March 9, 2020
A citizen-led group from Baytown, known as the Bring the Battleship to Baytown Committee, has mobilized to make Bayland Marina the new homeport for the Battleship TEXAS. The location is nestled on State Highway 146 Business and can be seen easily while traveling north on the Fred Hartman Bridge. If the Battleship TEXAS docks there, the group estimates it could be viewed by 80,000 passersby per day, with 120,000 projected when the Grand Parkway is completed.
The Battleship Texas Foundation – the non-profit organization that will operate and maintain the Battleship TEXAS for the Texas Parks & Wildlife and the state under an MOU formed in 2019 – issued a request for proposals (RFT) for a new berth for the ship on January 21. Along with Baytown, Kemah and Corpus Christi are said to be interested in providing a home to the Battleship TEXAS. Galveston was also thought to be a contender, but the Galveston Daily News recently reported that park board trustees had decided against submitting a bid to bring the vessel to Seawolf Park.
Heading the Bring the Battleship to Baytown effort is local community leader Jay Eshbach, and the city of Baytown has appointed councilwoman Laura Alvarado to represent the city. Other community leaders include historian Russell Hamman, who has put the conversation on his two Facebook sites – one known as “Bring the Battleship to Baytown” and the other as “Hamman’s History of Baytown … with a Twist”. Together, the sites have 20,000 followers. The Bring the Battleship to Baytown Committee has asked the public for small financial pledges – no actual fundraising has been conducted – and a public letter-writing campaign to show community support for docking the Battleship Texas at Bayland Marina is underway.
The deadline to submit RFPs to the Battleship Texas Foundation is March 13. While the organization has not said when winning homeport will be announced, it anticipates the Battleship TEXAS arriving to its new berth around August 2021.