Patriots Point gets two-year extension to devise plan to repay Laffey loan
Patriots Point has two more years to come up with a plan to pay back the remaining $8.7 million on a state loan to repair the warship Laffey.
The state Joint Bond Review Committee approved the extension Wednesday.
The naval and maritime museum borrowed $9.2 million in 2009 to repair the ship to keep it from sinking into Charleston Harbor after it sprung several leaks in its hull.
The agency was given two years to repay the loan, then was granted a two-year extension in 2011.
The ship was repaired and moved back to the Mount Pleasant tourist attraction in 2012.
“It’s a good day,” said Mac Burdette, Patriots Point executive director, after the vote.
The plan will allow the state agency to pay back interest on the loan over the next two years while it comes up with a plan that the General Assembly approves of to repay the debt over several years.
Patriots Point had asked the Legislature for the two-year extension and a 15-year period to repay the loan. Members of the House agreed unanimously, but the measure fell short in the Senate.
Burdette said the agency has every intention of repaying the money, but it can’t do it in one lump sum.
Patriots Point’s annual budget is about $9.5 million.
It has embarked on a three-year plan to boost attendance and raise more revenue to help repay the loan and set money aside for maintenance of the World War II-era aircraft carrier Yorktown, the centerpiece attraction that’s staring at an estimated $81 million makeover over the next few decades.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.