TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Final preparations are underway to move the Col. James M. Schoonmaker museum ship, from International Park to the Marina District, at the future site of the National Museum of the Great Lakes.
Over the last two years, an estimated $1.5 million in donated materials and services have gone into the restoration of the ship built in 1911.
"It's been a collaborative effort. The only thing we haven't done is get the main engines running. We've had deck machinery operational for the first time since the ship was running," said Paul LaMarre, Director of the S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker.
Volunteers have repaired original equipment including a mooring wench and the main anchor windlass, which need to function for the move.
On Saturday the ship will be moved by two tug boats, with the final voyage expected to begin at 11 a.m.
"We've undergone a complete towing inspection with the U.S. Coast Guard," said LaMarre.
Toledo City Councilman Rob Ludeman said history is on the side of those who fought to keep the museum ship afloat, and not sell her off for scrap.
"It would be gone and we'd probably be scrambling to find a ship to bring in to dock by the maritime museum now, so patience and good management over time has really worked out," said Ludeman.
The city maintained the ship until handing over caretaking duties to the port authority.
"About 6 years ago when the ship was on the verge of extinction, never would we imagine she'd become the centerpiece of the National Museum of the Great Lakes," said LaMarre.
The move is weather permitting.
"If we get a Southwest wind it typically blows the water out but we're hoping for a North wind enough water to move her out, not too much wind, and we'll be on our way," said LaMarre.
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