Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Erie's Brig Niagara, "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!"

I was so saddened to see the headliner of The Erie Times News last Wednesday, March 25th that read, "Plans for U.S. Brig Niagara's sailing season could be sunk." The large vessel that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry once sailed during the war of 1812 has been sailing the Erie Bay and visiting ports all over Lake Erie and the Eastern Sea Board for a decade now. That battle turned the tide for the American Naval fleet who ended up winning the war. It's beauty and inspiration as you see it glide by the beaches in full sail is like no other. It takes your breath away. State government cuts threaten the brig's ability to sail and its future.

Many who live in Erie probably remember the brig when it was dry docked and viewable on land. It fell into disrepair and was almost completely lost. The restoration of the brig created excitement and hope. The brig IS a symbol of Erie and the Lake itself. In economically hard times, we need a symbol such as the brig and letting her go would be like giving up.

The brig needs 1 million dollars of funding for upkeep, maintenance, and sailing. It is currently docked at the Erie Maritime Museum, located on Erie's bayfront at 150 E. Front St. When docked, the ship is available for museum visitors to explore. What a wonderful opportunity to see the inside of the ship and to get an idea of what the men under Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and Perry himself would have experienced while sailing the flagship.

One million dollars seems like a lot of money, I would agree. But, when I saw the very next day's headliner in the paper it didn't seem like such a large amount and I became angry. The headline reads, "Sinnott presents $170M wish list." The mayors wish list from the estimated $170 million stimulus funding does not include the Brig's mere 1 million. Instead the list includes renovations of Tullio Arena, Perry Square, Griswold Park, and a NEW EMTA garage among others. You mean to tell me that in this plan there isn't any room for 1 million to go toward the symbol of Erie?

It is my hope that as many citizens who love the brig as much as I do will become aware and get involved with saving our ship. There is a facebook page dedicated to the cause. Help us save the Brig Niagara. Let your thoughts and feelings be heard. Visit the cause site and remember, "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!"


VickiTheMiddleSister said...

Jodie...I saw the Niagara at Port Clinton, Ohio, years ago. I also took a tour. It is hard to describe watching it glide into port, if you've never seen it. There are some things that should not be allowed to be disappear because of this recession...the Niagara is one of them.

LakeErieBeachGlass said...

Thank you Vicki! Ever since I've lived in Erie I have been attached to that ship. It is an amazing vessel and I agree, to let it go would be a shame and regretful!

kim* said...

1 million could go to starving people... its sad to see things go but there is so much more the money could be used for.

LakeErieBeachGlass said...

Yes, Kim I would agree with you. However, the mayor of the city is recieving an estimated amount of 170 Million dollars that he plans on using on remodeling projects and other projects. Many of these projects are a good idea and are needed while others can be scaled down a bit or are unnecessary. Compared to the 170 Million, 1 Mill doesn't seem like much to fork over to the Brig.

Two ArtisanSisters said...

Sure hope they change their minds and decide to save the U.S. Brig Niagara! You are definitely correct that out of $170 million dollars they should certainly be able to find a million to save this beautiful, historical and irreplaceable ship! This ship is also quite obviously a stimulus to the local economy as it is providing numerous people jobs and is a tourist attraction!! How can the mayor and other folks in control there not see that fact, and act accordingly???
Ruth and Marilyn
Two Artisan Sisters