2010-07-08 / Local & State

Donor Pledges $5M To Save SS United States

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A Philadelphia philanthropist has pledged more than $5 million to save a historic ocean liner currently rusting away on the city's waterfront.

H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest will donate up to $5.8 million to the SS United States Conservancy to purchase and maintain the vessel while it pursues redevelopment plans.

The SS United States set the trans-Atlantic speed record on its maiden voyage 58 years ago. It was removed from service in 1969 and has languished at a South Philadelphia pier for more than a decade.

Norwegian Cruise Line bought the ship in 2003 hoping to return it to service, but put it up for sale in February.

Lenfest’s donation gives the conservancy the money to buy the ship and care for it for 20 months while it works on transforming it into a stationary mixed-use retail and entertainment complex.

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