The Stockton Maritime Museum has acquired downtown waterfront property where it plans to recreate a historic shipyard, featuring a century-old building and the restored USS Lucid, museum president David Rajkovich said.
“We have a lot of historic photos of all the activity that took place down there,” David Rajkovich, the museum president, said. “So, we’re going to recreate that feel.”
Despite occupying valuable waterfront real estate opposite Weber Point, the 54,000-square-foot swath where Rajkovich hopes to build is currently empty.
It has been empty for years, city records show: a permit to use the land for a restaurant was issued in 2001, but the project did not pan out.
That’s all about to change, Rajkovich said. The property owner has donated the land to the Maritime Museum to make the historic shipyard a reality, Rajkovich said.
Rajkovich added he believes the owner was swayed by the work local vocational students have put into restoring the USS Lucid.
The minesweeper — built in New Orleans in 1953 — is moored in the Delta just outside the Building Futures Academy. About 20 students regularly perform repairs on the ship, and hundreds more in past classes have contributed.
“These kids have been in Stockton their whole lives, and some of them have never even seen the water out here in the Delta,” John Van Huystee, the students’ instructor and foreman on the project, said.
Students have worked on nearly every piece of the Lucid, from its sprinkler system to its plumbing and electrical systems.
They have done “just about everything you could do in a new home, but on a floating ship,” Van Huystee said.
“The long-term goal for (students) is … that they’re able to gain employment in a field that they want to,” Lucas Homdus, a site coordinator for the program, said.
In addition to relocating the Lucid, the museum plans to purchase a historic shipyard building and relocate it to the waterfront, Rajkovich said.
The building would be renovated to include offices and classrooms that would allow the museum to expand the student vocational program.
It’s unclear when the new attraction will be up and running. Even a year would be a “very ambitious” timeline for such a project, city spokesperson Connie Cochran said.
But the appeal is clear. “It’s a win-win for Stockton, for the Lucid. It’s going to be a great attraction point for downtown,” Van Huystee said.
“I think all that money they put down there just needs that iconic piece to bring the visitors.”
Record reporter Aaron Leathley covers business, housing, and land use. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeathleyAaron. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at recordnet.com/subscribenow.