A piece of history docked on the Delaware River could be headed for the scrap heap. The SS United States has faced that threat before.
Two years ago, the famous ocean liner was saved from being scrapped thanks to a grant of nearly $6 million from the Lenfest Foundation. The money was intended to maintain the ship while a feasible plan to save it was created.
The money from the grant is just about to run out. Steven Ujifusa, who wrote a book about the SS United States, says the ship could once again be headed for the scrap heap.
“The conservancy has been working very hard to secure a real estate deal with developers in New York City or Chester, Pennsylvania. The situation for the ship is really down to the wire, because if there is no real estate deal soon, the ship will be sold for scrap,” he says.
The goal is to convert the ship into a museum, hotel or a convention center — or a combination of all three. Ujifusa says New York is leading the negotiations, but no concrete deal has been put together.
The ship has been moored on the Delaware River since 1996. Repeated bids to restore it have failed, including an attempt to make it a part of a failed South Philadelphia casino project.