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CEO Update Aug 3, 2021

Friends and Family:

I returned last week from our family vacation in Oregon where we visited Astoria and Grants Pass. While in Astoria we saw the Lewis & Clark National Park, Columbia River Maritime Museum, Oregon Film Museum, numerous Goonies stops, Crater Lake, Tillamook Creamery, and explored as we went. It was a wonderful trip with the family and an opportunity to reset for the next six weeks as we enter final planning for 2021 LA Fleet Week.

Recently, we have been hearing concerns about the Delta Covid variant and its potential impact on the museum and Fleet Week. We have seen a slight dip in attendance the past couple of weeks and an increase in questions regarding Fleet Week. Both the museum and Fleet Week remain full steam ahead with adjustments such as indoor masks being implemented in accordance with local health orders. 

We don’t foresee any additional restrictions in the near term based on the current information that is coming from public health authorities. It is important to notate that most of the museum and Fleet Week are outdoor activities and are considered safer than indoor activities.

As we continue our growth out of Covid, we remain focused on expanding into the National Museum of the Surface Navy. Over the past several years, we have planned and built numerous projects with the eventual goal of becoming a National Museum. Much of the infrastructure is already in place for this expansion and we are working closely with sponsors and donors to underwrite the costs to plan, design, and build the exhibits. 

Vicky’s Doghouse is a project that has been on the horizon for several years which brings alive a truly unique waterfront food & beverage experience. Vicky’s Doghouse also allows us to connect with our local community by providing an additional dining venue on the LA Waterfront. Once Vicky’s opens, the entire fantail area will be open to the public at no cost to enjoy food, beverages, retail store, and access for veterans to the new Veterans Resource Center (VRC).

Our crew embraced Vicky’s and the VRC with passion and commitment over the past couple of months. The team of volunteers and staff have come together to overcome adversity, despite the challenges of infrastructure upgrades and materials shortage. I couldn’t be prouder of this team for stepping up to the plate, seeing the vision, and remaining focused on the end goal to bring these important national museum level projects alive.

Last week, Vice President of Development and Marketing Joleen Deatherage submitted our response to the State of California regarding the Freedom of the Seas Park and Pavilion. My deepest appreciation, on behalf of the board, for Joleen’s and COO Mike Getscher’s work on the plans and proposal for this grant. 

Included within the project is a 5,000 sq. ft. +/- community building, numerous displays, memorials, family activities, and beautiful landscaping to highlight the ship and waterfront location. Freedom of the Seas Park will be open and available to the public to utilize, ultimately providing greater access to the waterfront for the community to enjoy and utilize. 

If you are interested in showing your support for the project, please let Governor Newsom know by clicking here and providing a comment with the subject “other.” Reference that you support the Pacific Battleship Center’s application for the State of CA Proposition 68 funds to build the Freedom of the Seas Park and Pavilion.

In his weekly note to the crew, Mike Getscher discussed ten years ago when he first boarded the ship in Benicia, CA. As we enter the next several weeks and months, we will be celebrating our ten-year anniversary of bringing the ship out of mothballs and refurbishing her. Many of these moments bring back a lot of memories personally over my twenty years of involvement, but unfortunately with time, I have forgotten many of them. We have been blessed over several years to build a team with fulfilling relationships that continue to be dedicated to our mission and ship. The DNA and culture of our organization is one of commitment, passion, and respect with an enormous number of long-term supporters, donors, staff, and volunteers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each of you for taking this journey with us. 

In closing, thank you for your involvement and all that you do for the ship and museum. My best wishes to you and your family for a productive and enjoyable week.

Jonathan Williams
President and CEO

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