Residents discuss Lowell Showboat’s future

Posted at 10:58 PM, Jan 19, 2017

LOWELL, Mich. -- An icon in Lowell could be making a jump from the water to land.

Earlier this month, the city announced their famous showboat was closing due to safety concerns.  Now, there is talk of making it a permanent fixture in the community.

"It's an icon of Lowell," said resident Greg Hanse.  "It's something that Lowell's kind of built around."

A special meeting was held Thursday to determine what's next for the famous boat.  City leaders explained why making it a permanent structure makes more sense than trying to keep it afloat on the water.

"The people in place are working to put the showboat back to where it's a vibrant part of the community," said Lowell City Manager Michael Burns. "And we're committed to doing whatever it takes to make that happen."

Upkeep on the boat can be expensive, so now the plan is to re-purpose it into something that's used year-round.

"We want to build something that will be permanent," said Lou D'Agostino, leader of the 'Rebuild the Showboat' committee.  "We want to make this structure an all year round structure.  People can get married and have other events on it."

The boat that was closed earlier this year was actually the fifth showboat in Lowell.  They got their first one in 1932.  The latest model was constructed in 1979.

The new structure would have electricity and heat and would be owned by the city.   The price tag for this project could be around $2 million, but the city won't know for sure until a plan is approved by the Department of Environmental Quality.  They're hoping to get approval this year and the goal is to start building next spring.