Johnson said fundraising can now begin in earnest because a site for the museum has finally been settled. Originally, plans called for building the museum within the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, much of which was taken by eminent domain and leveled years ago for a redevelopment effort that never fully materialized. Other locations in New London were also considered and later dismissed. The city has since agreed to donate a quarter-acre parcel downtown for the project.
"At the end of the day, we took all of the controversy out of it," Johnson said of the location, which is near the city's train station and ferry terminals.
Coast Guard commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. is strongly backing the museum. A history buff, Papp has already located a key object for the museum's collection. He spoke Friday about recently meeting a Russian woman living in Alaska who is willing to donate the original piano that was used by Capt. Francis Saltus Van Boskerck to write the Coast Guard's official marching song while he was stationed in Alaska.
"We don't have a place right now, but we're going to," he said. "And it's in New London, Conn."