The Battleship New Jersey, which has struggled financially since it was moved 13 years ago to the Camden waterfront, will get some help this year.
Last week, the state Legislature approved a $1.4 million appropriation for the tourist attraction, which in recent years has been a target for relocation to the North Jersey waterfront.
Although this year's appropriation is less than the $1.7 million received from the state in 2010, it is a marked improvement over the $32,500 of 2011 - not enough to cover a month's electric bill, one official complained at the time. In 2012, the ship received $600,000 from the state.
"This is great news for the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, and couldn't come at a better time," Philip Rowan, CEO of the Home Port Alliance, which maintains the ship, said in a statement.
Alliance officials could not be reached Tuesday for additional comment.
In an effort to attract more visitors from across the region, the ship in April introduced what is called the Turret II Experience, which allows visitors to load mock powder bags and send a dummy artillery shell up to the turrets of the 66-foot-long guns.
The New Jersey, the most decorated battleship in U.S. history, typically draws about 100,000 visitors a year, well short of the 200,000 projected 13 years ago. Before the New Jersey came to Camden, a rival consortium sought to anchor it at Liberty State Park, where it would have sat near Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
State Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden), who sought the funding, said the state remained committed to keeping the New Jersey in South Jersey.
"This is a one-of-a-kind ship," he said in a statement, "built on our river." It was constructed at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.