PORTLAND – A group that wants to bring the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy to Portland Harbor as a museum has competition from another New England state.

The Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame Inc. announced Monday that it is seeking to bring the carrier to Newport County as a “family attraction and recreation facility, education/heritage center, job training facility and disaster relief asset.”

The hall of fame has the support of the state’s governor and U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, son of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and President Kennedy’s nephew.

JFK for ME’s efforts have been bolstered by a letter of support from the Portland City Council and a resolution from the Legislature. The group responded to the news from Rhode Island by suggesting that the carrier would be a major attraction for Maine.

“We believe that the Navy selection committee of the JFK will realize, just as the former crew of the Kennedy did when, back in 1989, they chose Portland as their elected port of call, that the return of the JFK to the waters of Portland Harbor will complete the wishes of the former crew,” said Richard Fitzgerald of JFK for ME.

The two groups passed the first round of qualifications to seek the JFK.

Bill Sheridan, deputy director of the aircraft carrier project in Rhode Island, suggested that state offers a better home for the JFK, because “Portland offers less advantages in location, population, tourism statistics and a number of other issues.”

 

Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

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