(AP) — The SS United States is sending out what may be its final distress call.
The 990-foot-long ship could be sold for scrap within two months unless the grassroots preservation group that's working to secure a home and purpose for it can raise $500,000 immediately, the group told The Associated Press. Talks are under way with developers and investors about the ship's long-term future, but without the emergency funding, its caretakers fear they will run out of money before a deal is inked.
The historic ocean liner carried princes and presidents across the Atlantic in the 1950s and 1960s but has spent decades patiently awaiting a savior at its berth on the Philadelphia waterfront.
"We've made progress on the fundraising side and the redevelopment side," said Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy and granddaughter of the ship's Philadelphia-born designer, William Francis Gibbs. "Our immediate goal is to buy some time."
The group has raised $1 million through fundraisers and a website, where contributors can sponsor a piece of the ship for $1 per square foot, but has received no public funding. What is desperately and immediately needed, they said, are donors with deep pockets and high profiles.more