NEW LONDON, Conn. — Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and government officials commemorated the construction of a National Coast Guard Museum.
The museum will be located on the waterfront in New London. Construction will begin next week with the goal of opening in 2024.
The museum was authorized back in 2005, according to Congressman Joe Courtney.
“It’s long overdue and I’m overjoyed that it’s in Connecticut, my home state,” Matthew Tracy from Waterbury.
He and his wife Linda are retired U.S. Coast Guard radiomen. This marks not only a happy moment for their fellow guardsmen but also a special occasion for the couple.
“Today’s our anniversary: 45 years,” they said.
“We met in California going to coast guard school,” Matthew said.
They signed a piece of the building in New London Friday afternoon at a keel laying ceremony, which is a long-standing tradition in the shipbuilding industry.
This marks the start of construction on the 80,000-square-foot building that will have five stories, including a top floor with an events center and views of the waterfront.
“Can’t wait to see the end when it’s built and we can go in and see it and enjoy it with our family and children,” Linda said.
The museum will share the history of the Coast Guard with visitors through more than 200 galleries and exhibits, including simulation and virtual reality experiences.
“We haven’t had a place to tell those stories to the American public that we serve. And we haven’t had a place to honor those stories for ourselves and that’s why celebrating today’s milestone in this journey toward the Coast Guard Museum is so essential,” said Admiral Linda Fagan, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The museum will cost $50 million to build. Funds from the federal government have been set aside for the design and construction of the museum exhibits. State funding will help create a pedestrian walkway that leads to the museum and nearby areas.
Lawmakers also touted the economic growth this will bring to downtown New London and surrounding areas.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said it’s estimated to bring $20 million per year to southeastern Connecticut.
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