TAMPA -- Paul Catoe, who took over in May as president and chief
executive officer of the Tampa-Hillsborough Convention and Visitors
Association, said one of his main priorities is to help in the
campaign for Tampa interests to acquire the USS Forrestal aircraft
carrier and then to turn it into a museum. The 1,086-foot carrier
would be moored in Tampa Bay.
Area officials made a bid to the U.S. Navy in May, but the
bidding process will not end until November. Baltimore also is
seeking the carrier.
In March, the Navy will make a decision as to where the ship
will be relocated. "The Navy would basically give us the ship, and
we'd have to raise the funds to keep it," Catoe said.
No taxpayer funds would be used to acquire the ship. Private
fund-raising efforts in the Tampa area are under way for the
Catoe said ensuring that the area's tourism members "speak as
one voice and send out the same message" is another one of his
The Tampa CVA, he said, will be involved in joint promotional
efforts with Visit Florida, the state's public-private tourist
promotion concern. "I think one of the major reasons the selection
committee hired me was that I've been very active in the community,
and I know a lot of the players in the market," he said.
Catoe is the former president of WLFA-TV, an NBC affiliate here,
and a 30-year resident of the area.