06/29/2012 02:25 pm ET

Viking Ship Costing Chicago Park District Millions: Department To Transfer Relic To Nonprofit

The Chicago Park District has filed a petition to transfer the responsibility to care for an 1890s-era Viking ship to a non-profit after more than 90 years of maintaining the replica of a 1,000-year-old vessel.

The Norwegian Viking Ship was passed on to Lincoln Park Commissioners in 1920 from the now-disbanded Federation of Norwegian Women's Societies with a condition that future trustees had to maintain the artifact and make it accessible to the public, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Legislation, passed in 1934, transferred all of the Lincoln Park Commissioners' property to the Chicago Park District, and with it came the obligation to provide perpetual care for the ship.

But the district says the repairs and relocation required to exhibit the ship could cost more than $3 million, leaving them ill-equipped to manage the antique, according to the Chicago Tribune. They're petitioning to transfer trusteeship to Friends of The Viking Ship Inc., a non-profit that has been raising money for its care and organizing tours for the public, according to the petition.

Flickr photo by downeym.