Save the Delta Queen: A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen
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Delta Queen Preservation Foundation seeks to purchase vessel

Nov 19, 2010

Here comes a press release from the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation, unveiling details from their plan to purchase and operate the Delta Queen:

DELTA QUEEN PRESERVATION FOUNDATION SEEKS TO PURCHASE VESSEL

Chattanooga, Tenn. – Leah Ann and Randy Ingram, current operators of the Delta Queen announced that they have submitted a Letter of Intent to purchase the vessel from Ambassadors International.  The vessel is currently berthed in Chattanooga, Tenn. where it is operated as a hotel.

The Ingrams are in the process of finalizing plans to establish the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation, an entity whose mission is to ensure the future preservation of the historic steamboat with the long-term goal of being able to operate it once again.  In the near term, the boat would continue to be operated as a hotel, bringing in much needed revenue to finance the many repairs needed.  The boat would be owned by the non-profit organization allowing charitable contributions, historic preservation grants and other tax deductible donations to be received.  The operation of the boat would be leased out to the current for-profit hotel company, Delta Queen LLC.

The Ingrams noted that their ultimate goal is to make the Delta Queen ready to once again sail America’s rivers.

Leah Ann Ingram said, “We would like to return the Delta Queen to the rivers as soon as she is able but understand that is a monumental task. Having her open to the public as a revenue generating hotel while those repairs are made is critical to any successful plan to put the boat back in service.”

The Delta Queen has been very well received in Chattanooga.  In fact, a recent evening to honor the steamboat was hosted to garner attention and support for future efforts.  Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield offered a joint resolution from the city and Hamilton County that gave strong support to preserving the vessel and maintaining her historical designations.  The Mayor offered praise to the goal of making the Delta Queen ready for travel on America’s waterways.

The Delta Queen is experiencing great success in Chattanooga.  From sold-out lodging to the addition of gourmet dining, the Delta Queen is even one of the hottest tickets in town for the upcoming holiday season.  Last year, the Delta Queen hosted over 450 guests for Thanksgiving dinner and is expecting similar crowds this year.

Mrs. Ingram noted that success not only comes from a dedicated staff, but equally dedicated volunteers who provide countless hours in repairing and maintaining the boat

She said, “This is a team effort and we are honored and humbled by those former crew members and guests who come aboard on a weekly basis to take care of this legendary vessel.  We hope that some of the people who have indicated their interest in purchasing the Delta Queen will join with us as we all have the same goal.  In fact, nothing would please us more.”

Both Ingrams noted that any option that takes away from the boat’s rich history or changes her integrity could put her historic designation in jeopardy.  “We want to preserve this piece of maritime history for generations to come and would welcome the help of anyone who shares our views.”

For more information, call 423.755.7588.

Just a few days ago, a new group, called "Save the Delta Queen 2010" has also announced plans to buy the Delta Queen. This group's speaker is Vicki Webster who once was fighting together with save-the-delta-queen.org to save the historic vessel before splitting up in 2009 and going her own way.