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Delta Queen might get OK to return to service
Monday, September 30, 2013 11:00 AM
In a July 2008, editorial The Madison Courier encouraged the community to not give up the fight to keep the Delta Queen navigating the nation's waterways - including trips up and down the Ohio River.
The boat eventually was shut down because it was declared unsafe since it was constructed of wood and presented a fire hazard.
The U.S. House's approval last week of a related bill is a step forward in a long effort to keep the Queen in service.
The measure that passed Wednesday and a Senate version would temporarily exempt the National Historic Landmark from a ban on certain wooden boats making overnight trips with 50-plus passengers. Both measures would need more approval.
The Delta Queen has been docked in recent years as a floating hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The boat has been moored since 2009. Supporters say safety improvements would be made, and the Coast Guard would have to certify the Delta Queen was safe before it moves again.
In 2008, we wrote: "Perhaps because of our commitment to historic preservation we have a greater understanding of the importance of preserving institutions such as the Delta Queen. That significance might be lost on congressmen from North Dakota, New York or Nevada."
We believe that still is the case.
Meanwhile, the boat is for sale. A New Orleans investor whose group hopes to buy the steamboat said that Cincinnati tops his list of possible new homes for it. A Cincinnati businessman bought the Delta Queen in 1946, and it was locally owned until 1985.
Cincinnati would be a splendid home for the Delta Queen.
We know there are more pressing issues in Congress right now, but we do hope that a vote is taken to exempt the Delta Queen, allowing it to return to its glory days when it steamed up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
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