MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The USS Alabama is one of the biggest attractions here along the Gulf Coast, even in the state.. even the whole region.
Every year, visitors and locals alike visit Battleship Memorial Park and all the attractions around the ship. Rhonda Davis with the Battleship Memorial Park lets us know what’s happening at the park.
Read the full interview below or watch it in the video above.
Bill: The USS Alabama, one of the biggest attractions here along the Gulf Coast, even in the state.. even the whole region.
Jessica: Every year, visitors and locals alike visit Battleship Memorial Park and all the attractions around the ship. Rhonda Davis with the Battleship Memorial Park is here this morning on the Red Couch. Tell us what’s happening at the park. And one of the things happening is registration is opening today for the first time since COVID for your overnight program.
Rhonda Davis/USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park: Yes, we are so excited. Of course, we had to close the overnight program when COVID hit and we’ve taken that time to actually repaint, do repair work, and upgrade the overnight facilities, which are actually the berthing areas of the crewmen that fought aboard the USS Alabama. So registration opens today for scouting. We have Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups and also ROTC programs from our high schools are able to spend the night on the ship and enjoy touring and have an enrichment experience.
Jessica: Oh, what a neat experience that that.
Bill: A lot of people who’ve done that, there’s rave about it. They think it’s just a great program. Also, new out there, you see some new things. If you’ve seen that white covering on the deck, you’ve got to and this is new since the ship is 70-something years old, New teak decking.
Rhonda Davis: Yes. So the USS Alabama actually had her 80th birthday in August, August the 16th. And the teak deck that visitors will see when they tour is our original deck. Last August, we embarked on a huge program to replace the teak deck throughout the ship. So we started on the bow. So the port side is complete. The starboard side.
I’m sorry. I’ve got it reversed. We’re in the port side now. So the teak will be replaced on that section. We anticipate January the containment system will move to the back. And it’s been a really interesting program. It’s going to take us three years to replace the teak. It is. The old teak is coming up, being cleaned and refurbished.
And stored, and then new Asian teak is going down to replace it. The tenting will move in January to the back or the fantail of the ship. And we’ll take it in three sections. It’s a three-year, $8.5 million dollar project. That’s no surprise. It is probably one of the biggest and most important projects we have undertaken. And it is crucial to the preservation of the ship because, of course, the deck is the roof of the ship.
Bill: That’s right. Yeah.
Jessica: And you mentioned that being stored. Any idea what they’re going to do with the old the old teak?
Rhonda Davis: So right now, the plans are to salvage as much teak. And if you are you know, if you know how valuable the teak is, being able to replace Asian teak with Asian teak is very important. The wood brokers found enough to do the deck. So we’ll salvage and keep as much as we can for replacement in the future.
And some of the teak was replaced years ago on the upper decks. So we may at some point replace that as part of the preservation of the ship.
Bill: Some exciting things in Battleship Memorial Park. Rhonda Davis, our guest today. Go out, see the battleship, it’s going to be fine.
Jessica: And then do a holiday weekend. You got time to do it.