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Delta Queen May Have Chosen Kimmswick to be its Home Port

This article was originally published on stltoday.com.


The company trying to resurrect the Delta Queen’s cruising career on the Mississippi River may have chosen the city of Kimmswick as its headquarters.

The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. and city officials are planning an announcement Sept. 10, but offered no details Wednesday.

It’s well known, however, that the company has been shopping around for a home for the aging steamer, which is in need of substantial repairs before it can resume cruising. Last year, executives were in St. Louis, soliciting investors and talking about the possibility of choosing St. Louis as its headquarters.

They said it could bring as many as 150 boat jobs and 21 corporate jobs with $4 million in annual wages.

The boat was once a fixture on the Mississippi River, but has fallen on hard times. It was last used as a waterfront hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn., before being disabled by a harsh winter. The boat was towed to New Orleans this year to escape further damage. Its owners hope to refurbish the boat — which needs new boilers — and get it ready for overnight cruises on Midwestern rivers.

The bill for that work is expected to be in the range of $10 million. But first, the boat needs an act of Congress to gain an exemption to the Safety of Life at Sea Act, a federal law that prohibits overnight excursions on wooden vessels. The 285-foot-long boat, with 88 cabins, had an exemption for some 40 years before losing it in 2008.