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Saratoga Press Release

May 2, 2005

Contact: Frank Lennon
      (401) 831-8696

Saratoga Project Gets Green Light

Supporters must raise $10 million plus in two years.
The USS Saratoga Museum Foundation has received confirmation that Governor Donald Carcieri will recommend that the retired Navy supercarrier be allowed to move to the former Quonset-Davisville naval complex, where it would open as a museum, memorial, educational center and family attraction.

The assignment of a berth is an enormous boost and a turning point for the Foundation.

The Governor's Chief of Staff, Ken McKay, advised Foundation President Frank Lennon that the Governor is recommending to the Quonset Development Corporation that the carrier museum be developed at Pier 2 at Davisville, subject to the Foundation's ability to raise the estimated $10 million needed to prove the viability of the project. Over and above that amount, the Foundation would also have to address homeland security issues, environmental studies and the costs associated with an exit strategy should the carrier have to be moved at a later date. In the Governor's proposal the space would be reserved for the Foundation until May 1, 2007.

"We are absolutely delighted that the Governor is willing to give us this chance," said Lennon. "Assuming the Quonset board accepts the Governor's recommendation, we will finally be able to approach sponsors and donors knowing that if we raise the money, the project will happen. Site control is crucial to our credibility in the financial community."

Governor Carcieri reiterated the long-held understanding that the $10 million would not include a line item in the State's budget nor State related debt service. "I will support, on the other hand, as I have in the past, your efforts to raise money from other sources," added the Governor, who, along with his wife Sue hosted a Saratoga fundraiser at their summer home in Saunderstown in June of 2003.

Acknowledging the considerable amount of time and dollars spent by the Foundation in bringing the project to this point, the Governor stated: "The supporters of the USS Saratoga Foundation have demonstrated a remarkable dedication and passion for this project. It represents 'project staying power' by the leadership."

In recommending that Saratoga go forward, the Governor cited opportunities the project would create for intergenerational learning, special events, function space, potential workforce training, and solidly anchoring a "Tour RI" excursion.

The Foundation is moving swiftly to launch a capital campaign. Lennon explained, "While this is an incredible step forward for us, it will take a lot of hard work, plus the combined talents and enthusiasm of all of us to reach our $10 million goal."

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