Paul Choinière’s column (“Planned Coast Guard Museum? Count me as excited”, May 20) is insulting to the overwhelming number of people who have opposed and continue to oppose the location and design of the National Coast Guard Museum.
Somehow I missed the routine elements of public discourse – discussion, debate, hearings and transparent information – regarding the museum project.
Instead, the Museum Association and its cabal of supporters continue to ram their agenda down the throats of the public, while labeling those who oppose it as “opponents” and “horses”.
I wrote to The Day last May to say that unless there was a government bailout, the museum was dead in the water. Senator Murphy has now opened taxpayer coffers to cover the museum’s anemic fundraising effort, and that is “exciting” Mr. Choinière.
Interestingly, The Day frequently exhibits various flim-flam artists trying to sell their goofy ideas to the citizens of our area. The newspaper is no longer the “champion of the people” in the service of the general interest. The Day demonstrates a lack of editorial common sense, understanding or foresight.
The Coast Guard Museum Funding Plan as required by Congress is dated September 11, 2014 and has not been updated since. Anyone who doesn’t realize today’s costs will be over $200 million and counts, is living in a dream world. I have yet to see The Day press for the real numbers.
The still underfunded US Coast Guard and the City of New London – responsible for maintaining the pedestrian overpass – continue to kick in hopes of an economic miracle. The overhead costs associated with staffing, maintaining and operating the museum will place a heavy burden on the Coast Guard budget. Once the initial buzz subsides and visitor numbers drop, I predict the museum will operate with reduced hours, have great difficulty updating exhibits; and maintenance will suffer.
In 2006, the Coast Guard approved Fort Trumbull as the preferred site for the museum. The current location was a desperate ploy after the Coast Guard pulled out of Fort Trumbull following Kelo’s decision.
The downtown revitalization argument belongs in the same trash as Ocean Quest, Captain’s Walk, the Waterfront Development Plan 2021, shall I go on? Subsequently, a municipal referendum ended the Riverside Park proposal. Needing a quick fix – federal law requires the museum to be located near New London – the former mayor came up with the current location. Not exactly textbook strategic planning.
The Coast Guard and our region deserve better.
Neil D. Ruenzel is a resident of Niantic.