- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 13, 2003

WILLIAMSBURG — A replica of the ship Godspeed, which landed in 1607 at Jamestown, will sail to 10 East Coast cities as a floating museum to mark the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in America.

Four years before the official anniversary, about 60 state and federal organizers met Wednesday to plan for the 2007 event. The two-year celebration is expected to generate $150 million in tourism for Virginia.

“It’s an investment with a strong return for the commonwealth,” said Suzanne Flippo, chairwoman of the program and events subcommittee, part of the federal Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission.

Jamestown was settled by the English under a charter granted by King James I to the Virginia Company of London. Today, much of the settlement, referred to as Historic Jamestowne, is owned by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and the National Park Service.

In 1996, archaeologists discovered the remains of the original triangular fort. More digging this summer unearthed evidence of the fort’s western wall and north corner, defining the fort’s shape for the first time and indicating that it actually enclosed 1.1 acres.

The Jamestown 2007 anniversary commemoration will start in May 2006 in Virginia with a six-month publicity tour to the ports of the District, Baltimore, Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia, New York City, Newark, N.J., Boston, Newport, R.I., and Atlantic City, N.J.

In December 2006, a voyage will be staged from London, where the Godspeed, Susan Constant and Discovery departed 400 years before.

A forum on democracy is planned for the fall of 2007, to include democratic leaders from around the world. Other events will focus on re-enactments and the experiences of American Indians and black Americans.

Finally, the project will culminate in the winter of 2008 with an exhibit at the Jamestown Settlement, called “The World of 1607,” featuring 17th-century art on loan from national and international collections.

Working with the federal commission is a state group, the Virginia Jamestown 2007 Steering Committee, made up of members from the APVA, Colonial National Historic Park and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

Planning for the Jamestown 2007 celebration began in 1997, and reports indicate the cost of transportation arrangements alone could top $8 million. Events have been estimated to cost $18 million, and will be financed largely by private and corporate donations.

Thirteen corporate sponsors — for each of the original colonies — are being sought. No businesses were named Wednesday.

“You look at all we’re trying to tackle, and we’ve got very little time to do it all,” said project spokesman Ross Richardson.

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