LST needing help with funds for repair and staying open

Tours are once again underway on board LST 325.

The ship returned to Evansville from Texas after spending two months in dry dock for repairs and improvements.

That work comes at a high price close to $1 million.

Those operating the World War II ship say now is a good time to step in and help replenish their funds.

The most visual improvement to the LST is a new coat of paint.

Other work was done on the bottom of the ship.

These repairs were much needed and now the LST needs to build its bank account back up.

The operations manager for the LST says a federal grant covered about $200,000 worth of repairs, but the other $800,000 or so as well as the costs of general upkeep comes from donations from people joining the LST memorial and from money raised by the ship's annual cruise.

That money is extremely important to keep the ship operational.

The operations manager says they ended up using over two-thirds of the LST's account for these repairs.

He says there's still money in there for operating costs and a cushion, but the 70-year-old ship is going to need more work down the road, which is why they need to rebuild those funds.

"Something this old, a major repair, a lot of this stuff has to be custom made," says John Engstrom, the LST Operations Manager. "You can't run down to the auto parts store and get pieces and parts for the ship. I mean, they're very hard to come by."

It will be another 5-10 years before the LST will need to dry dock again.

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