The battleship USS New Jersey saw service in World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, and Lebanon and proved unstoppable, but one dangerous foe almost shut it down for good–budget cuts. A couple of months ago New Jersey Governor Chris Christie passed a state budget that did not include $1.7 million to keep the ship open as a museum in Camden harbor. Much political wrangling ensued, over this and numerous other funding measures, and the new budget that has just been signed includes the money for the battleship. The ship’s curators now plan to go ahead with a paint job and installing an interactive loading and firing simulation in one of the turrets.
Some other attractions and parks in the state have not been so lucky. The Camden Children’s Garden did not see its annual $625,000 grant renewed and has already cut staff and opening hours. Other states are having similar budget woes, with New York cutting funding to many parks.
Even the battleship is struggling. Its annual state funding used to stand at $3.4 million. It looks like there are tough times ahead for all attractions that rely on local, state, and federal funding. This may lead to rising ticket prices, shorter hours, and more appeals for donations.
Photo courtesy user Daveahern via Wikimedia Commons.