Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Save Our Sara Campaign Hasn't Been Forgotten

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Save Our Sara Campaign Hasn't Been Forgotten

Article excerpt

The mighty Saratoga is moored in a Philadelphia shipyard, soon

to be dismantled for scrap metal.

While it may be gone from its home port of almost 40 years,

it's not forgotten, said a leader of the drive to convert the

massive aircraft carrier into a floating museum.

A year after the drive to Save Our Sara was scuttled for lack

of funds, people still ask him about it almost daily, Charles

Sawyer said.

Sawyer said he has no regrets about getting involved in the

project and remains convinced it would have been a viable

tourist attraction on Jacksonville's Southbank.

"I felt then and feel now it would have been a natural fit,"

Sawyer said.

The aircraft carrier had been based at Mayport Naval Station

since it was commissioned in 1956. It was retired in 1994. That

led Jacksonville civic leaders to form the USS Saratoga Museum

Foundation and mount a yearlong campaign to save the Sara from

the scrap heap.

The campaign was scrapped when the project's start-up costs

grew from $4.5 million to $6.8 million. The foundation also fell

almost half a million short of its $3 million private

fund-raising goal.

Almost $2.5 million was raised in pledges, but the money was

intended to come in over several years. …

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