Arizonans and local companies have donated nearly $2.5 million for a long-awaited restoration of the USS Arizona Memorial's visitor center in Honolulu, Hawaii, the tourist attraction that showcases the sunken tomb for the sailors trapped inside the 93-year-old battleship.
Yet the fundraising has fallen short of the $3 million goal set three years ago, even as the cost of the project recently rose from $54 million to $58 million.
Laurie Moore, director of development and public relations for the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund, says the state has given "very, very generously," even though "it didn't quite get there."
State lawmakers also sent $69,000 from Arizona's treasury in 2006 for the project.
"If there are any large businesses out there, there's still time to get that year-end donation in," Moore says with a chuckle. Donation info can be found on the memorial fund's Web site, linked above.
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Groundbreaking for the renovation took place last month, and the site will remain open to visitors until the planned completition and dedication on December 7, 2010.
The work is crucial because the visitor's center was built on reclaimed land and is slowly sinking into the ocean. -- Ray Stern