The Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial's unveiling will not be a part of North Charleston's 35th anniversary Fourth of July celebration at Riverfront Park.
The memorial commission voted Wednesday to delay the opening until Aug. 11, the day before the 106th anniversary of the Navy taking possession of the base that closed in 1996. The Navy acquired the property Aug. 12, 1901.
Several factors figured into delaying the opening, said Ed Fava, chairman of the Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial Commission.
Fava said they could have rushed the $3.15 million project to completion by July Fourth, but he cited concerns that the pavilion might not be ready in time because it will arrive in sections and must be assembled on site.
All of the statues, including "The Lone Sailor," "The Homecoming" and bronze replicas of a submarine, destroyer and landing craft, will be ready by early June, but the arc-shaped pavilion, which will detail the history of the Navy base on different panels, might not be ready in time.
"There is nothing big that would cause a huge problem if we forged ahead," he said.
But to be on the safe side, they decided to delay the opening for five weeks.
Fava also cited a big concern that the event might lose some of its significance if it were held in conjunction with the city's holiday celebration, which will be headlined by country music singer Lee Greenwood's evening performance at Riverfront Park.
"We like the notion of having our own event," Fava said.
July Fourth falls on a Wednesday this year, so there also was some concern with a mid-week opening, Fava said, because a lot of out-of-towners, including admirals and members of the U.S. Navy Memorial board, would be invited. He believes a weekend event will work better.
The base memorial commission raised nearly $600,000, and the city of North Charleston pumped in the rest of the money for the elaborate memorial to the tens of thousands of men and women who worked as sailors and civilians at the old Navy base.
The city's 35th anniversary celebration on July Fourth starts at 3 p.m. and ends with a fireworks finale.
Mayor Keith Summey said he was not disappointed with the memorial commission's decision.
"It was going to be a full day," he said. "This will work out much better, and they will get their own day. It's still going to be a big day, and we might have stolen some of the thunder from their thing. There is no sense in pushing it if they want their special day."