May 10, 2013

Kittery planners reject proposal for USS Thresher memorial

Town officials' concerns include lack of parking and two walkways that could be dangerous due to traffic.

The Associated Press

KITTERY — The planning board has failed to approve a proposal for a park in honor of the men who died aboard the USS Thresher submarine, which sank 220 miles off of Cape Cod 50 years ago.

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The USS Thresher was launched in Kittery in 1960 and sank three years later.

File Photo

The planning board had concerns Thursday night about the proposal, ranging from a lack of parking to the actual presentation – members said the type was too small.

The Portsmouth Herald reports the Thresher Memorial Project Group hoped to break ground soon on the park adjacent to Town Hall, to include a "circle of honor" to recognize the 129 men who perished aboard the submarine. Work also would take place at the Memorial Circle, with a granite base installed around the flagpole.

Town Planner Gerry Mylroie said the plans include grading, electrical information, materials to be installed and topographical information.

But member Debbie Driscoll said two planned walkways would be dangerous, due to traffic.

A motion to approve the plan as presented failed 3-3.

A number of remembrances and ceremonies have been held earlier this year honoring the crew of the Thresher.

The submarine began its final mission from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on the morning of April 10, 1963. It was off the coast of Cape Cod, conducting sea trials.

The Thresher sank toward the ocean floor after losing power, until it imploded below crush depth into thousands of pieces.

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