Tom Clancy buffs are already well-acquainted with the USS Dallas. The 5,700-ton nuclear submarine, a hair longer than your standard football field, was a main player in The Hunt for Red October. Back when the novel was published in 1984, the ship was still young, having joined the Navy's fleet just three years before.
Fast forward three decades. The ship is no longer such a vital part of U.S. maritime strategy and is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2014, at which point it will need to find a new home. And a new home is exactly what Dallas leaders are proposing to build, according to The Dallas Morning News. Mayor Mike Rawlings is expected to unveil plans for the Dallas Maritime Museum, which will be located on the banks of the Trinity River.
The logic here goes something like this: The USS Dallas travels in water; the Trinity contains water; therefore it makes perfect sense to build an $80 million naval museum in Dallas, several hours from a coastline or navigable waterway.
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"Dallas is a city of big ideas, and this is just one more example," Phillip Jones, head of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Morning News. "Lots of people are excited about this."
Jones also called the museum "a needed addition in South Dallas," even though 1) the proposed Rock Island site isn't in South Dallas and 2) no area of Dallas needs a naval museum. The sentiment does illustrate the city's general approach to developing the southern sector, which mainly involves throwing random, high-profile attractions -- golf courses, horse parks, naval museums -- somewhere south of Interstate 30.
The project is being privately financed through a nonprofit foundation that has already purchased 3.5 acres on Riverfront Boulevard. Fundraising is still in its early stages, but foundation officials like John Shellene and tourism officials like Jones are confident that, once built, the museum will draw visitors from around the world.
We shall see.