Passenger Vessels

Missouri County Gives Grant For Riverboat Dock

The Jefferson County (Mo.) Council voted 6-0 with one abstention September 28 to support a river landing and docking station for riverboats in Kimmswick, Mo., with a one-time grant of $238,421. Kimmswick is the homeport of the Delta Queen, which is awaiting an exemption from Congress that will enable it to offer river cruises.

According to Neal Breitweiser, executive director of the Jefferson County Port Authority, the money will come from the county’s reserve fund.

The county hopes the other 80 percent of the cost will be provided by a state waterways grant. Jefferson County is competing with 17 other applications for that grant money, Breitweiser told local media. Breitweiser told The Waterways Journal he is waiting for final approval from the Corps of Engineers for the dock plans, pending approval by the state’s Department of Natural Resources. When that comes through, the port can solicit bids for the river landing and a road. Construction would begin by the end of this years.

Breitweiser said the port is eager to get construction rolling. He said he went aboard the Delta Queen, which he said is in “great shape.” The boat landing would serve the Delta Queen if it receives its exemption from Congress that would allow it to resume river cruises. If it doesn’t, it could still serve as a floating hotel.

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Breitweiser made clear that the port’s passenger vessel plans never depended on the fate of one boat. “This is a comprehensive plan,” he said.  The dock would also serve other passenger vessels. Breitweiser said he has been in discussions with American Cruise Lines and other passenger vessel providers, including Viking, which has just announced the restart of its efforts to provide passenger service on the Mississippi River after adjusting its strategy to address Jones Act concerns.

The total cost of the dock and landing project is estimated at $1.2 million. It is one phase of a larger plan whose total cost is estimated at $5.2 million. The five-year plan to develop 50 acres on the Kimmswick riverfront includes a park with amphitheater, a boardwalk and a walking trail.

The project’s engineering consultant is Hanson Professional Services of Maryland Heights, Mo., the same firm that has produced studies of the Missouri River’s ports and their potential.