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Foundation presents town of Groton, Conn., with funds for future submarine memorial site

An artist's sketch of a proposed submarine memorial in Groton, Conn., featuring the sail of the USS Groton.

USS GROTON SAIL FOUNDATION

By KIMBERLY DRELICH | The Day, New London, Conn. | Published: February 12, 2021

GROTON, Conn. (Tribune News Service) — After signing an agreement with the town, the USS Groton Sail Foundation on Wednesday presented the town with the funds to purchase state-owned land, near the Groton Public Library and senior center, that is proposed as the future home of a USS Groton Sail memorial.

"This is an important step in the process of making the Groton Sail Monument a reality," Town Manager John Burt said. "I commend current and former members of the Groton Sail Foundation for all their hard work. The addition of the monument to our Senior Center and the Library will create a wonderful entryway to our Town."

Now that the foundation has given the town a $91,500 check to cover the cost of purchasing the right of way on Route 117, adjacent to the senior center and library, for the memorial site, the town is in the process of cutting a check to the state in the same amount to allow for the transfer of the property to the town. Burt said once the state receives the check, the state will send the town the original executed deed.

The Town Council and Representative Town Meeting approved the town manager signing the memorandum of understanding, which the foundation and town signed last month, agreeing to the fund transfer and purchase of the land.

Under the agreement, the foundation also will continue to fundraise to pay for the restoration of the USS Groton sail and create the memorial, according to Burt. After the memorial is built, the foundation will proceed with fundraising for a year to provide funds to the town for maintenance.

The memorial would feature the sail and rudder of the USS Groton and would honor the people of Electric Boat who designed and built submarines, sailors who served on the boats and Groton as the "submarine capital of the world," retired Rear Adm. John Padgett, chairman of the Groton Sail Foundation, has said.

As outlined in a master plan by Kent + Frost Landscape Architecture, the proposed design calls for a planted earthen berm in the size and shape of a submarine, historical markers, an internally illuminated memorial wall, and plaques. There would be connection through a raised pedestrian crossing to a new plaza located near an existing memorial plaza at the site.

Another feature, a "Community Connection Walk," would serve to mark the connection between Electric Boat and the Naval Submarine Base and Groton, according to the plan.

The foundation in the past had explored other possible locations for the memorial but they did not come to fruition, Padgett said. With the site near the library identified, the foundation now will be able to ask the Navy for official approval to locate the sail and rudder at the location.

k.drelich@theday.com

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