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Michael Blaser 04-06-2014 01:08 PM

Belle 100th Anniversary cut down
Here is a paraphrase of an email I received on Thursday from Alan Bernstein of B & B Riverboats of Newport----"Today we were informed that the state of Kentucky did not fund the Waterfront Development Commission that is putting on the festival. They have decided not to have the visiting boats come to Louisville in October. They are still going to celebrate the birthday but only with the Belle and Spirit of Jefferson but not with any other boats". Considering all the meeting, travel, time and effort that Alan has put into this event, the announcement must be a crushing blow. Alan Bernstein has been one of the greater motivational forces behind every Tall Stacks event in Cincinnati. It had appeared to me that Louisville was finally in a position to show Cincinnati just how things could be done! Not So!

Michael Blaser

Bill Judd 04-07-2014 10:28 AM

Louisville not only got egg on its face but also two black eyes. This fiasco will not be forgotten in the river circles. As for Alan B I feel for him because like all causes he gets involved with he gives 100% plus. Alan was willing to give the Louisville group all his expertise and knowledge gained from ALL the Tall Stacks events. It was a sad ending to what could have been a real great showcase for the Louisville area. Now frankly I wonder about the Belle of Louisville's future.

Michael Blaser 04-07-2014 11:46 AM

Good news from Capt Alan B. The Riverfront committee in Louisville is reconsidering the calamity they created with the cancellation. Monday morning they are meeting apparently with renewed vigor. Word is they intend to plan a bigger more interesting venue than the old one. This is all good! Keep posted for the latest.

M. Blaser

Frank X. Prudent 04-07-2014 01:05 PM

I wonder if the wizards sitting down in Frankfort ever considered how many lawyers will be kept busy by cancelling all of the contracts with the boats and those that have already purchased tickets.

We're too great of a country to deserve those that we have elected to represent us.

Judy Patsch 04-07-2014 01:24 PM

BELLE's Future
Well Bill, we've expressed concern before about the BELLE's future after this event, and a few people have said Not To Worry! I think this fiasco shows the lack of knowledge/interest toward boats and operators and sadly I say again: To Worry! I hope I am proven wrong.

inactive user 02 04-07-2014 04:55 PM

It will come as a surprise to no one that I am not (nor have I ever been) supportive of Waterfront Development Corporation operating the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE.

Although they have done a lot to keep the boat going, she has been more useful to their ultimate agenda. The need for her to operate is in no way a priority of WDC. At this point WDC is going into a self preservation mode after losing this state funding money and the future of their need for the BELLE can be nothing but suspect at best. Many sources have pointed out this setback for the Birthday Celebration is the harbinger of the end of her operational career. It has been clearly pointed out for the last two years that WDC is outgrowing their need for the BELLE and she is not in their future plans going forward.

Like Judy, I pray I am wrong in saying such. I pray another operator can impress the City and get her before something desperate happens to her. That would be what would make her a success, a knowledgeable operator coming in to run her properly. I can think of only two highly successful operators who have the experience necessary to operate an excursion steamboat in this day and age. I hope they are watching this thread and take the leap to save her and her phenomenal history.

She may have to leave the waterfront (as WDC already charges her wharfage fees and requires her crew (with salaries coming out of HER operational budget) to maintain the wharf in her area….at Cox's Park she could land for free). To keep her running and get her back to the success she has known in the past the only hope is to get her out of the clutches of WDC and into the hands of a proper steamboat operator. It'd be a shame to lose another operational boat, at this point, we have too few to lose!

Keith Norrington 04-09-2014 10:10 AM

We politely and patiently await announcement of the revised plans for the Centennial Festival of Riverboats. According to the latest list handed me, some [B]41 [/B]bus tour groups are/were slated to visit the Howard Steamboat Museum from Wednesday through Sunday. That's a LOT of visitors to have passing through the mansion over several days, but we certainly look forward to welcoming them, one and all, to our unique museum and -- whatever it takes -- we'll make it work!

The Belle's only gonna be ONE HUNDRED this one time!

inactive user 01 04-09-2014 11:00 AM

All, I'm reminded of the death cart scene from Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail. "I'm not dead yet" nor is the Belle so for goodness sake come for her. If nothing else we need river people to spread the word about this event in support of the Belle. Forget about the politics involved and tell your friends friends friends to spread the word. She's only turning 100 once and the more cruise tickets/tour groups that come to be a part of that moment in history, the happier I'll be and the more it will show everyone how lucky Louisville is to have this local and national treasure at their front door.


Judy Patsch 04-09-2014 11:56 AM

Preaching to the choir here
AJ, I don't think you need to urge us to forget the politics, etc. and support the BELLE. I suspect most everyone who actively posts on here will be there to support the event. Even though I fear for the future of the BELLE, knowing some of the politics controlling her, I'll be there 5 days, driving the 846 mile round trip as I do at least twice a year to support both the BELLE and the Howard Museum. As I mentioned in my posting, I've been around the AVALON/BELLE since 1951, and there are others on here who have been with her even longer. Our commitment doesn't waver. We may seem jaded to you, with your 'relative newness' to her, but we are loyal and dependable and will be there, as always, regardless of the missteps in the organizational process.

Michael Blaser 04-09-2014 03:07 PM

Everyone should keep a positive state of mind. Monday or Tuesday of next week will cast a new light on the outcome. Remember this is only the second week of April. Except for the Derby (which is a quasi private enterprise) this is just about the biggest event the City of Louisville has put together in some time.

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