News Column

BRIEF: Corbett announces $4.8 million project for Niagara

May 22, 2014

By John Guerriero, Erie Times-News, Pa.

May 22--The U.S. Brig Niagara is getting a $4.8 million overhaul that will provide another 25 years for one of Erie's biggest tourism draws, Gov. Tom Corbett announced late this afternoon.

The money will come from the state's capital budget for public improvement projects and will require no local matching funds.

Construction, which will include a complete rebuilding of the ship's hull, is expected to begin no later than 2016. The work should take about 15 to 18 months, which means the ship will miss one sailing season, said Niagara Capt. Billy Sabatini.

But Sabatini said the plan calls for the work to be done at the Niagara's berth at the Erie Maritime Museum on Erie's east bayfront. "We'll turn the rebuild into an exhibit," he said.

"It's a huge attraction, a huge exhibit," he said, referring to the reconstruction project.

Wooden ships such as the Niagara typically require an extensive refit and renovation after about 20 years, the governor's office said. Even if well maintained, water seeps through the deck, causing the wood of the topsides to soften and decay, and the fasteners to corrode.


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Source: Erie Times-News (PA)

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