Marco Polo Group seeks Y- 2000
Cash for Land Ship
By Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon
Globe staff writer
Smooth sailing may
lie ahead for the Marco Polo after 12 years of designs, studies and
Marco Polo Group Inc. now wants to build a
full-scale, non-sailing replica of the famous tall ship with funding from the
federally funded Millennium Partnership Program. Sitting on the waterfront, the
new Marco Polo would include masts that would tower 20 feet above the roof of
the Saint John Hilton year-round, in full view of the Harbour Bridge, spokesman
Barry Ogden said today.
It could be completed within a
year, just in time for the 150th anniversary of the keel- laying of what was
once the fastest ship in the world.
He estimates the
project will cost about $1.8-million, which he said is "much more realistic"
than the group's original plan for a sailing replica with a price tag of nearly
$28- million. This latest plan has also received more positive reaction than a
proposal earlier this year to build a half-size model of the square-rigger,
Mr. Ogden's group applied for
millennium funding in February, flourishing 20 letters of support from various
agencies and local politicians. The feedback to date has been "very promising,"
and the project has now moved to a second stage.
proposing a non-sailing version of the Marco Polo, the group has eliminated the
risk and the capital associated with a sailing vessel, but the city would still
have "its landmark, its icon," Mr. Ogden said.
speaks of Saint John, to Saint John and about Saint John ... It's our past in
shipbuilding, it's our present in shipbuilding and of course our present and
our future are very much linked to water and tourism."
Marco Polo Project studies have predicted the tall ship would attract 150,000
visitors in the first year.
The Millennium Partnership
Program was launched in June 1998 and will expire in March 2001.
Other New Brunswick projects have already been approved,
including Flight for Life, a $ 1. 1 -million project proposed by the New
Brunswick Lung Association in Fredericton. The objective of the national
campaign is to simultaneously fly kites symbolizing the relationship between
clear air and healthy lungs across the country on the first Sunday in June in
both 1999 and 2000, which coincides with World Environment Day.
Taken from the Times Globe
Newspaper May 26/99
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