Skip to comments.Bidding War Could Take The Delta Queen Away From Chattanooga
Posted on 05/13/2013 1:00:21 PM PDT by iowamark
A sudden bidding war for the famed Delta Queen could ultimately take the historic paddlewheel riverboat away from Chattanooga.
Cornel Martin, who is leading a group of investors trying to purchase and refurbish the Delta Queen, said he would like to have it fixed back up and plying the nation's inland waterways again by next summer.
The former president of the Waterways Council in Washington, D.C., said his group began scurrying when it learned that a rival group in Sacramento, Calif., has made an offer for the Delta Queen. It is owned by Xanterra Parks and Resorts of Denver and was brought to Chattanooga in early 2009 by Harry Phillips as a floating hotel. It is currently operated under lease by Randy and Leah Ann Ingram, while docked at Coolidge Park.
Mr. Martin says the Sacramento group wants to keep it as a dockside hotel.
But he and other Delta Queen aficiondos want it running again, going from port to port while keeping a home base.
The Delta Queen earlier lost its exemption from Congress from certain watercraft safety rules, but Mr. Martin believes that hurdle can be overcome.
He would not reveal how much his private investors have raised to buy the Delta Queen, but he said it will cost $7 million to get it in shape to resume cruising.
That funding he said he is seeking as a loan from a city willing to be the Delta Queen headquarters. He said it would be "fairly easy" for the Delta Queen's earnings to pay off the loan within 10 years.
Mr. Martin said he is talking with officials of river towns, including Cincinnati, about the venture. He has made numerous trips in the past six months to Chattanooga to inspect the Delta Queen, and he plans to make a pitch to the new Andy Berke administration.
He said the host city would become the Delta Queen office headquarters with about 20-25 employees. The riverboat's crew of about 150 would also be hired at the host city.
A similar arrangement was worked out with Memphis to rescue the American Queen, he stated.
Mr. Martin says the Delta Queen is worth saving "because it's part of our history. It's the last authentic steamboat still able to operate. To lose its ability to travel America's inland waterways would be to lose a national treasure."
Yes, let’s print some more taxpayer obligations to fund this “private” investor group. I wonder if Stockton, CA might be interested?
Nice Riverboat. Serves as a floating hotel for now. It was fun. Recommened it.
Interestingly, the “Delta” in question when the vessel was built was the Sacramento River delta. I’d like to see her back in California.
The Str. DELTA QUEEN operated under a special Congressional Exemption from the 1966 Safety of Life at Sea Law (Public Law 89-777). This law forbids any vessel, foreign or domestic, from operating from a United States port carrying over 50 overnight passengers if it is constructed primarily of wood. The exemption ran out on Nevember 1, 2008
How did they get her to the Mississippi?
I'm all for getting the Delta Queen moving again, but there is still an authentic steamboat operating out of New Orleans.
"The New Orleans Steamboat Company locally owns and operates the last authentic Steamboat on the Mighty Mississippi River"
Took off the paddlewheel, boarded up her sides and went through the Panama Canal.
The hull was originally made in Scotland.
I’ve been on the Delta Queen when it was running. Nice boat. The scenery on the Tennessee around Chattanooga is so beautiful, especially in the fall, it would be a shame to operate it anywhere else.
It doesn’t cruise the river, it stays docked:
My folks were attending Pop’s postal convention in Memphis back in the sixties.
That night a big party was held on a riverboat(don't know if it was the Delta Queen or not) We were allowed the run of ship and hit the free drinks table like a pack of hyenas.
After downing three or four bottles of coke or RC, nature came calling.
After running both decks, front and back, we couldn't find the bathroom nor mom or dad. In desperation with a overtaxed bladder,we went as far back of the vessel as we could, lend close to the left rail(Port?),near to the whirling blades and added more “water “ to the Big Muddy.
Lucky we were just kids and it was non alcoholic beverages else we might have taken a unwanted swim...