New riverboat coming to Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The Belle of Louisville is getting a new sister. The CEO of the Belle, John Boyle, says there are plans to buy the Georgia Queen for $750,000. The money comes partially from the Belle's reserves, and the centennial celebration of the Belle. 

Boyle says the Waterfront Development Corporation, which operates the Belle on behalf of the city, has been keeping its eye out for a new boat. In December, the Georgia Queen became available. Boyle says the Spirit of Jefferson, which is docked next to the Belle, has been in need of repairs for years and was due to be replaced.

The Georgia Queen was built in 1985 by Marine Builders in Utica, Indiana. It will seat 110 more people for dinner than the Spirit of Jefferson. Boyle says the Queen's operating costs will be about the same as the Spirit.

While the Belle of Louisville is a National Historic Landmark, Boyle says the Spirit has been the "money maker." The Belle is not fuel efficient and is much more costly to run, which is one reason Boyle says it is important to have a sister boat. 

Boyle says the Spirit of Jefferson will be sold.

Boyle says Louisville Metro Council will have to approve the purchase. He hopes to have the Georgia Queen here by mid-May, and in operation by June 1, but hopefully sooner. He says the Georgia Queen will be renamed, but a new name has not been chosen yet. It will get a few upgrades, including a handicap accessible restroom. 

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