Delta Queen "not going anywhere" - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Delta Queen "not going anywhere"

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB)- It is a landmark both visitors and locals are used to seeing on the Chattanooga riverfront, the historical Delta Queen steamboat. After news surfaced this week the boat might be relocated out of state, the boat operators want to clear the air on its future.

Earlier this week a couple out of Florida wrote a letter of intent saying they want to purchase the Delta Queen and move it south.

Boat operators say, as of right now, the Delta Queen is staying put.

"Chattanooga loves the Delta Queen. And we want it to stay right here," says Albert Waterhouse, with Waterhouse Public Relations.

Waterhouse represents the operators of the Delta Queen. He says they are very clear on where the boat should be docked.

"As far as they're concerned, the boat needs to stay right here where it's home is in Chattanooga," says Waterhouse.

The boat has been up for sale for the past three years, ever since a park and resort management company acquired it after the previous owner went bankrupt.

Earlier this week, a couple out of New Smyrna Beach, Florida indicated by a formal letter, they would like to purchase the vessel.

 

The letter of intent gives the couple a 30 to 45 day window to buy the Delta Queen and move it to New Smyrna Beach. The only hiccup, they are asking the city council there to let them lease or buy land so they can dock the boat.

"This is just a formality. We do not anticipate the boat moving at this point," says Waterhouse.

"It's real nice, actually. It's kind of neat. The rooms are small, but it's comfortable. It's fine," says visitor Mark Burnett.

Burnett ventured up from Atlanta to stay on the boat for a weekend getaway.

"I hope it stays around. I'd hate to see it disappear," he says.

"I think it's great. It's a beautiful boat. The inside has a lot of history on it. And it's real nice, just a relaxed atmosphere," says Delta Queen guest Cathy Pearson.

The 85-year-old boat is rich in history. It has logged more than two million miles and carried more than half a million passengers.

It is also a National Historic Landmark, hosting presidents and celebrities alike.

"The boat has a huge economic impact for the city. I mean, it has hotel rooms on it. It serves brunches and meals and does a lot for the hospitality industry here," says Waterhouse.

"I think did they did a really smart thing when they put this in," says Pat Safriet, visiting from Kingston, Tennessee.

Over the past three years, the operators say there have been at least seven letters of intent to buy the Delta Queen, but they all fell through.

In the meantime, they say bookings have been strong and are planning for a busy Easter Sunday brunch.

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