BY DAVID QUICK
Of The Post and Courier Staff
MOUNT PLEASANT - Four days before proposals to house the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley are due from three municipalities, Mount Pleasant Mayor Harry Hallman Jr. named former congressman Tommy Hartnett to head a task force to demonstrate the town's support for housing the Civil War relic.
Mount Pleasant, Charleston and North Charleston are expected to turn in competing proposals to the Hunley Commission by Friday. Mount Pleasant wants the submarine located at Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum.
Hallman said the intent of the task force is "to rally the support of the business community so that the Hunley Commission will know support for the Hunley is more than nine members of Mount Pleasant Town Council." Hartnett's position is voluntary.
"I think Tommy, with him being an ex-congressman and a businessman in the community, brings a lot of credentials to the table," Hallman said. "And he's a good salesman."
Hartnett, who served in Congress from 1980 to 1986, is president of Hartnett Realty, a commercial real estate company in Charleston, and a long-time Mount Pleasant resident.
Hartnett, also a former state_representative and state senator in the 1970s, lost bids for lieutenant governor in 1986, the U.S. Senate in 1992 and governor in 1994.
He said his role in lobbying for the Hunley should be "easy ... because all the heavy lifting has been done," a reference to the joint effort by Mount Pleasant and Patriot's Point to make a competitive bid for the submarine.
"Patriot's Point is a natural place for the Hunley to be," Hartnett said of the naval and maritime museum that draws more than 250,000 visitors a year.
At a press conference Monday, Hartnett took a few jabs at Charleston and North Charleston, saying that Charleston is crowded and suffers from parking problems and that the site in North Charles-ton would be difficult for tourists to find.
Other members of the task force have not been chosen. Hartnett will appoint members to work with him.
Hallman used the press conference to stress a theme of bringing the Hunley "back home." The town also unveiled a proposed historic marker noting that the Hunley crew was temporarily housed at Shell Hall, or "Ronkin's Long Room," at 205 Ferry St. in Mount Pleasant, in early 1864.