MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The USS Alabama is one of the biggest attractions here on the Gulf Coast, even in the state…even in the entire region.
Every year, visitors and locals alike visit the Battleship Memorial Park and all the attractions around the ship. Rhonda Davis with 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 on the Gulf Coast, even in the state…even in the entire region.
Jessica: Every year, visitors and locals alike visit the Battleship Memorial Park and all the attractions around the ship. Rhonda Davis with Battleship Memorial Park is here this morning on the Red Couch. Tell us what’s happening in the park. And one of the things that’s happening is that registration starts 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 shut down the overnight program when COVID hit, and we took that time to repaint, do renovations, and upgrade the overnight facilities, which are actually the berthing areas for the crew members who fought aboard the USS Alabama. So today the scouting registration starts. We have Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups, and also ROTC programs from our high schools who can spend the night on the ship and enjoy a tour and have an enriching experience.
Jessica: Oh what a great experience this is.
Bill: Many people who have done this rave about it. They think it’s just a great program. Also, new there, you see some new things. If you have seen this white deck covering you must see it and it is new as 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 16th. And the teak deck that visitors will see when they walk around is our original deck. Last August we began a massive program to replace the teak decking throughout the ship. So we started at the nose. So the port side is ready. The right side.
I’m sorry. I’ve turned it around. We are now on the port side. So the teak will be replaced on this section. We expect the retention system to move to the rear in January. And it was a really interesting program. It will take us three years to replace the teak. It is. The old teak comes, cleaned and renovated.
And it is stored, and then a new Asian teak comes down to replace it. The tent will move in January to the stern or fan-shaped part of the ship. And we’ll cover it in three sections. It is a three-year, $8.5 million project. This is no surprise. This is probably one of the biggest and most important projects we have undertaken. And this is critical to the preservation of the ship because, of course, the deck is the roof of the ship.
Bill: This is true. Yes
Jessica: And you mentioned it’s stored. Any idea what they will do with the old old teak?
Rhonda Davis: So right now the plans are to save as much teak as possible. And if you are, you know, if you know how valuable teak is, being able to replace Asian teak with Asian teak is very important. Wood brokers found enough to make the deck. So we will save and save 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 it as part of ship preservation.
Bill: Some exciting things at Battleship Memorial Park. Rhonda Davis, our guest today. Come out, see the battleship, everything will be fine.
Jfescue: And then have a holiday weekend. You have time to do it.