Alexandria, VA

Former Virginia Senator John W. Warner has agreed to let the Tall Ship Providence Foundation to use his name for its recently approved visitor center complex.

“As the only Secretary of the Navy to serve in the Navy and Marine Corps, combined with his 30-years of service in the Senate, we are thrilled to recognize his contributions to our country,” Clair S. Sassin, the foundation’s executive director, said in an email.

While the naming of the visitor’s center is a positive development, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the foundation. The programs/communications director and the marketing director were recently let go and the capital campaign for the project will have to be pushed to the end of the year, Sassin said.

City Council approved the L-shaped, 5,300 square-foot floating pier on March 14. The pier will be home to two 17-foot-tall cottages, both 768 square feet, to accommodate visitors with a theater area for historical presentations, a gift shop, restrooms and a ticket office. The new complex will open on a floating pier at Waterfront Park in 2022, and in the meantime will operate at its current location at Founders Park.

In the meantime, Sassin is working on creating online content to tell the stories of the Providence, and is participating in the upcoming Spring2ACTion fundraiser on Wednesday.

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