Governor Dannel Malloy, New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, local dignitaries and the leadership of the US Coast Guard were all smiles and shovels today at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the National Coast Guard Museum, along the waterfront in New London.
Construction of the museum, a 4-story 54,000 square foot structure, is expected to begin later this year.
Fundraising for the $80 million project is on-going but the state has already committed $20 million and there is hope the federal government will match it.
In addition to the pomp and circumstance, Mayor Finizio officially turned the deed for the property over to the Coast Guard in a ceremony prior to the groundbreaking. But, he admits, the citing will be getting a great deal in return.
"This is a transformative project for the city. To bring half a million to a million people a year into our downtown will be something that New London couldn't even begin to imagine", Finizio says.
Admiral Robt. J. Papp, the Commodore of the Coast Guard says the museum will serve not only to inspire future members of the USCG, but to memorialize the Guardsmen of the past.
"To be able to bring this museum to fruition and have a small part played in it is just a great honor for me", Papp says.
The National Coast Guard Museum is expected to open in the spring of 2017.