Citing higher attendance and ticket sales, Patriots Point Development Authority signed off on a $10.2 million spending plan Tuesday for its next fiscal year that includes pay raises, new hires and a structural assessment of the aging aircraft carrier Yorktown.
For the 4th
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum will begin selling tickets online at www.patriotspoint.org starting at 8 a.m. today for seats on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Yorktown to watch the July 4 fireworks display.Tickets are $20 per person, or $10 for children 11 and younger. They include access to the Yorktown at 6 p.m., catered food and beverages available for purchase, live music and children’s activities. Tickets are limited and are available online only.Fireworks will be launched from a barge in Charleston Harbor. Lawn chairs are permitted on the flight deck, but no coolers or personal food are allowed. The show is free for those watching from the shore near the Mount Pleasant tourist attraction. Food and beverage vendors will be set up as well as live music and entertainment for children in the parking area. Parking is $10.
The state-owned naval and maritime museum sold nearly 16,000 more tickets than last year through May 31, a 9 percent increase, and boosted revenue by $212,000, 8 percent higher than last year. The budget year ends June 30. Through May, Patriots Point saw nearly 221,000 visitors compared to about 205,000 last year during the same period.
Group sales, campers and event rentals all rose, too, as the tourist attraction added events throughout the year as part of a three-year growth plan.
“We think this budget will allow us to keep moving forward,” Patriots Point executive director Mac Burdette said.
The spending plan, about 3 percent higher than the current budget, calls for 2 percent pay raises, two new employees, the Yorktown assessment and a paint job for the starboard side of the carrier.
Burdette said next year’s attendance revenue could beat estimates if Patriots Point is able to install some new exhibits as part of $400,000 in planned museum upgrades,
He also projected a reserve fund of about $4.8 million by July 2014.
Other highlights of the budget include a $174,000 interest payment on the $9.2 million state loan for repairs of the warship Laffey. Another $400,000 is set aside from state funds for the new “Flight Academy” set to open next spring as well as $150,000 from Charleston County for a new Vietnam exhibit as part of the 50th anniversary of the war.
Patriots Point employs 80 people. It will add one new staffer for education and another for the Flight Academy in December.
Also, the board said it will decide by November whether to seek federal funding separately or all at once to pay for its recent environmental assessment of the Yorktown and a proposed structural analysis.
A study released in April found the 70-year-old warship needs about $4.4 million in cleanup of leftover liquids from storage tanks before repairs can begin.