NEW LONDON — In a ceremony at Union Station on Wednesday, the major players in the project to build a National Coast Guard Museum signed an agreement that outlines how they will cooperate and what their responsibilities will be.
Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., the commandant of the Coast Guard, signed on behalf of the service, while Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed for the state, Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio for the city, and James Coleman for the National Coast Guard Museum Association Inc., which he chairs.
"The time has to come to move this forward and simply put, to get it done," Finizio said. "At long last it is happening."
Many museum supporters gathered for the ceremony. The site of the museum is a 0.37-acre lot behind the station.
The memorandum of agreement explains why the public entities and the museum association believe it is important to build a museum to educate the public about the Coast Guard's maritime heritage. The Coast Guard is the only branch of the armed forces without a national museum, it notes.
It describes how the city will give the land for the museum to the Coast Guard as a gift, and the state will spend up to $20 million to build a pedestrian bridge across the railroad tracks to access the museum and the Cross Sound Ferry terminal.
Plans call for four floors in a 54,300-square-foot building, and an adjacent pier where the Barque Eagle, the Coast Guard's tall ship, would be docked. More information is available at http://www.coastguardmuseum.org.
In remarks prepared before Wednesday's ceremony, Malloy called the agreement "a significant step in our efforts to construct Connecticut's newest national landmark – one that represents our state's rich maritime heritage and celebrates the important role the U.S. Coast Guard has played throughout our country's history. Once completed, the National Coast Guard Museum will also bring hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to our state, in turn, driving regional tourism and economic development."