MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the National Medal of Honor Museum say they are now exploring alternative locations following a board vote.
The $110 million museum was anticipated to have its future site at Patriots Point.
On Friday, organizers released a statement saying the board had made the decision to explore potential alternative locations.
Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie said he was disappointed by the decision and is looking at the town’s options moving forward.
“At six years into a ten-year contract to complete the museum here, and after standing by the MOH museum foundation through years of their own inner turmoil, we are certainly disappointed by this announcement,” Haynie said in a tweet."We will assess and decide on our options going forward."
According to museum officials, staff will work over the next few months to identify potential locations, applying key criteria including, but not limited to: market size, proven tourism destination–both overall and patriotic–and community support for our nation’s history.
“The purpose of this process is to do what is necessary to achieve our mission of creating a national Museum dedicated to the bravest heroes among us and develop programs to educate our youth about the core values of what it means to be an American,” organizers said.
The initial announcement that the museum may find new ground came on Sept. 21 following a Medal of Honor Convention.
In an attempt to keep the museum in Mount Pleasant, town council had signed a proclamation on Thursday in support of construction of the museum.
The town had also granted waivers through the planning permit process and pledged $1.5 million toward road enhancements.
“Mount Pleasant Town Council has been an early and constant supporter of the National Medal of Honor Museum,” Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie had said. “We have long honored U.S. military service members awarded the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration for their acts of heroism.”
“After spending time last month with a substantial number of Medal of Honor recipients at the Medal of Honor Convention, fundamental questions were asked regarding the location of the National Medal of Honor Museum,” an earlier statement from the Medal of Honor Museum said.
The statement also went on to put the project on hold.
“Consequently, the board of directors agreed that the next step for the museum is to re-examine the best home for this nationally important project,” the statement said. “As a result, the most transparent and responsible thing to do is to hold off on the planned design submission to the town of Mount Pleasant as staff undertake this evaluation.”
In January, the Mt. Pleasant Planning Commission recommended the denial of a zoning request forthe Medal of Honor museum because of its height and other development standards according to Mount Pleasant Communications Manager Martine Wolfe-Miller.
The recommendation was forwarded to the town planning committee of the town council for review. The plans for the museum included 128-foot tall pylons in order to match the height of the USS Yorktown.
The museum announced in October that all living former U.S. presidents would serve as honorary museum board members.
Its fundraising goal is $110 million and would include three buildings in its 107,000 square-foot complex on Patriot’s Point.