- The Washington Times - Monday, October 21, 2002

BOSTON (AP) The Navy and the National Park Service ended a squabble yesterday about security costs, reaching an agreement to keep the USS Constitution from closing its gangway to the public.
"We feel overjoyed. It's a win for the USS Constitution and the people of Boston, and all of the visiting public," said National Park Service spokesman Sean Hennessey.
The Constitution, the oldest warship afloat in the world, closed for two months after the September 11 terrorist attacks and reopened with more security. The cost rose from $757,000 annually to about $2 million, plus $670,000 for better lighting, surveillance and barriers.
But the two sides had not agreed on how to split the higher bill.
The Navy had announced last week that the ship would be closed beginning today because of the dispute. The park service reacted with surprise, and a flurry of meetings resolved the issue.
The two parties issued a joint statement yesterday saying, "We appreciate the patience and understanding of the visiting public and the people of Boston."
The Constitution was commissioned in 1797 and never lost a battle, fighting pirates in the Caribbean and fighting the British in the War of 1812. It earned its "Old Ironsides" nickname by deflecting cannonballs off its sturdy hull during an 1812 battle, as legend has it.
About 1 million tourists a year visit the ship, which is docked at Charlestown Naval Yard.

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