MOUNT PLEASANT-Town Council formally approved a proposal Friday to bring the
Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley to Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum.
But the proposal, which will be presented to the Hunley Commission before a Feb.
15 deadline, is top secret for now.
The town justified the secrecy because of the contractual and competitive
nature of the proposal. The cities of Charleston and North Charleston also plan
to offer proposals on housing the relic in a museum.
The only public action that Mount Pleasant took Friday was allocating
$40,000 toward the $80,000 cost to pay its team of consultants for developing
the detailed proposal. Patriot's Point will pay the other half.
The proposals have to show location maps, provide a budget for the
museum's design and construction, offer two different operational budgets (one
if a city runs the museum and one if the state runs it), show financial
incentives and provide relevant experience with similar projects.
Town Administrator Mac Burdette said the cost of developing a proposal for
the Hunley was worth it. "This is one you either win or lose, and you only
have one shot at getting it," said Burdette.
Before the closed-door meeting with consultants, Patriot's Point Executive
Director David Burnette and other town staffers provided a report on the
economic impact the Hunley would have on the town.
Using research from the Center for Business Research, they said that,
speaking conservatively, the Hunley would attract an additional 200,000 visitors
to Patriot's Point each year. Those extra visitors would generate $2.78 million
directly to Mount Pleasant's economy.
via lodging and other related tourist expenditures.
The estimate for the annual number of visitors, Harper said, was based on
the fact that 70,000 have visited the Hunley at the Warren Lasch Conservation
Lab in North Charleston in the past year.
BY DAVID QUICK
Of The Post and Courier Staff
permission of The Post and Courier and Charleston.Net