2013 -- S 0913

Enacted 05/14/13






     Introduced By: Senators DiPalma, Paiva Weed, Felag, and Ottiano

     Date Introduced: May 02, 2013



     WHEREAS, Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame, Inc. (RIAHOF), a Rhode Island

nonprofit organization, plans to develop a world-class, financially self-sufficient family

attraction, education and job training center, museum, and memorial on the Aquidneck Island

(Newport) side of Rhode Island’s beautiful Narragansett Bay, featuring the retired aircraft carrier

USS John F. Kennedy as the centerpiece; and

     WHEREAS, Locating this namesake legacy in Rhode Island would be most appropriate

given President Kennedy’s close association with this state, including his wartime training at

Melville, his marriage in Newport, and the Summer White House years at Hammersmith Farm;


     WHEREAS, This project has the potential to become a self-sufficient economic engine,

all at no cost to or investment by the state. Here are some specific benefits:

     • Attract as many as 350,000 visitors annually, many of whom would not otherwise come

to the state;

     • Generate more than $45 million in annual economic impact;

     • Create more than 80 direct jobs and more than 500 total jobs;

     • Provide a major vocational training facility and school-to-career program;

     • Contribute more than $3 million annually in direct tax revenues to the embattled state


     • Result in a worldwide public relations boost for Rhode Island;

     • Offer public access to and use of another part of the bay waterfront;

     • Provide significant educational, vocational, cultural, and historic benefits; and

     WHEREAS, A carefully developed business plan focusing on the diversification of

revenue streams to insulate against the seasonality of Rhode Island tourism has been vetted by

one of the top consultants in the nation. ConsultEcon, Inc. has completed a detailed market

demand, financial feasibility, and economic impact study that concludes this project will be

financially viable if the plan is executed as presented; and

     WHEREAS, The project intends to become a major educational resource for the state and

the region, focusing on S.T.E.M. education offering math and science opportunities for grades K-

12. The project will provide opportunities for more than 2.7 million students under 16 within a

100 mile radius--and that market is growing faster than the national average. The project will

commit significant resources to help future generations better understand history, math, and

physical sciences; and

     WHEREAS, The USS John F. Kennedy project will become a resource for business

development through school-to-work initiatives to be run in conjunction with area industry,

colleges, and technical schools. The job training benefit that can be obtained through this creative

reuse of a taxpayer asset is enormous. More importantly, that benefit can be obtained at a fraction

of the cost of other options. The equipment in the machine shops and other repair facilities aboard

this ship offer vocational training capabilities in the marine trades and other technical disciplines

that are not only worth millions of dollars, but also equal or exceed what is available anywhere

else in the region; and

     WHEREAS, The USS JFK would become a life-saving resource in case of disaster,

providing shelter, emergency power, communications, and virtually unlimited water and food

supplies. The USS JFK can serve as an emergency management facility with more than 370,000

cubic feet of storage space, a communications center, fully-equipped hospital, a helicopter storage

and launch capability, and facilities to feed and house as many as 5,000 persons in a crisis; and

     WHEREAS, RIAHOF's application to the U.S. Navy has already included letters of

support from the Governor, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and other members of the

Rhode Island delegation, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, the Department

of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor and Training, and the RI Adjutant

General, among others. This project is supported by a wide range of ideological and political

interests, to include elected officials, labor unions, educators, environmentalists, and business

groups; and

     WHEREAS, The group and the region that would be most strongly affected by this

project, the Newport and Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau, is fully supportive of

this initiative. Executive Director and CEO Evan Smith wrote, "On behalf of the board of

directors and staff of the Newport & Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau we are

pleased to offer our support for your efforts to bring the aircraft carrier USS John Kennedy to

Aquidneck Island. As the official tourism marketing organization for Newport and Bristol County

we are very excited about the possibility of adding a significant new visitor attraction to the

waters of Narragansett Bay to compliment other area attractions and strengthen our overall

tourism program"; and

     WHEREAS, The project is not inconsistent with other ongoing and planned development

on Aquidneck Island; and

     WHEREAS, The United States Navy has designated RIAHOF as the "sole viable

candidate for the potential donation of the USS John F. Kennedy"; and

     WHEREAS, The Office of the Secretary of the Navy has described the USS JFK

endeavor as "a very ambitious and exciting vision," and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy

responsible for Navy facilities worldwide has confirmed that the Navy would consider such an

arrangement so long as the mission of the base is not adversely affected; and

     WHEREAS, All the various RIHOF efforts to achieve this end are being taken with the

United States Navy's knowledge, both locally and in Washington, D.C.; now therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

believes it would be in the state's best interest to continue to endorse and nurture a project that

promises so many benefits to its citizens, is supported by the local region, and is compatible with

responsible development of Narragansett Bay; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this Senate also strongly supports the national fund-raising effort now

underway for the USS JFK project, and also encourages the continuation of corporate and other

private financial support to this nonprofit initiative; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this Senate urges all interested parties, including, but not limited to,

the Governor, the Economic Development Corporation, various city and town governing bodies,

chambers of commerce, tourism development entities, the business community, and the residents

of this state, to come together in a cooperative effort to overcome all bureaucratic and technical

obstacles and raise the funding necessary to move forward with this worthwhile endeavor; and be

it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Governor, the Director of the Rhode Island

Economic Development Corporation, and to the executive officers of each of the cities and towns

in this state.