RICHMOND (CBS 5) – A symbol of the Bay Area’s role in fighting World War II may be asked to pay rent or lose its home, if a Richmond lawmaker’s proposal is approved.

Part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, the SS Red Oak Victory is docked at the Port of Richmond. Put into service in 1944, the cargo ship returned to the port and became a floating museum in 1998.

Richmond City Councilman Corky Booze has suggested charging the ship up to $10,000 a month in rent, where it has docked free of charge for the past 13 years.

“There is no way we could pay $10,000 a month. We don’t make that much,” said Lois Boyle, President of the Richmond Museum of History.

For the councilman, it’s simply a matter of math. The City of Richmond is close to $3 million in the red. Booze said the SS Red Oak Victory has been flying under the radar for years.

“The Red Oak Victory ship has been sitting on our port since 1999 at a cost of $10,000 a month, and they have not paid one cent,” Booze said.

“He can’t lay the budget gap of millions of dollars on a little restoration project of volunteers,” Boyle said.

Booze is also seeking $1 million in back rent from the ship. The Councilman points out that the USS Iowa, which was docked at the Port of Richmond until May, paid $30,000 a month to dock. Booze said the Red Oak’s share could keep the city from cutting salaries and layoffs.

“He’s really an outrageous person, that he would try to get money from an organization that works so hard to restore something that is so valuable to Richmond,” Boyle said.

According to Boyle, a deal was struck with the city years ago to restore the SS Red Oak Victory and bring in tourism dollars, in exchange for docking at the port.

“To try to renege on an agreement is immoral. I just can’t believe a Councilman who was supposed to look out for us would do that kind of thing,” Boyle said.

According to the Richmond History Museum, the proposal is expected to be heard during the city council meeting on July 10th.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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