USS Batfish Moving To A Permanent Location In Muskogee

Thursday, November 4th 2021, 5:53 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

The USS Batfish submarine will be getting a new home in Muskogee in the next couple of years.

The Batfish and War Memorial Park have been historic staples for visitors since the 70s.

"I saw it come up the Arkansas River in 1972 and it's just part of Muskogee," said Jan McKinne of Muskogee. "I was a Cub Scout leader and I took my Cub Scout troop here and probably the 80s of some kind."

Now the 3 and half-million pound ship and museum are being moved in the next 2 years to Three Forks Harbor. Director Victor Lezama says it's perfect timing because the current lease is up in 2 years. Also, the Port of Muskogee is expanding and needs the land, and the museum was already planning to refloat it after the 2019 flood moved it a few feet.

"So all these three things that were actually already happening at the same time is a great opportunity to move the Batfish to a better location, a newer home, greater visibility," said Lezama

The Batfish will have to travel more than 3 miles downriver to get to its new home but that's no easy task. Lezama says the corps of engineers will have to raise the river about 3 feet to get the Batfish in the water. Lezama says FEMA was already funding repairs on the Batfish from the flooding. He hopes to have that money fund the relocation instead.

The city and museum will then fundraise to pay the rest of the cost.

"It could range from 3 million up to who knows what. This is a project that's never been done before," said Lezama

Details and timing are still being worked out but City Council just approved a $200,000 study all to figure out the easiest way to move this historic treasure.