Riverboat Eyes Memorial Day Weekend For First Cruises; ‘Independent Operator’ Sought To Lease Floating Restaurant

Riverboat Eyes Memorial Day Weekend For First Cruises; ‘Independent Operator’ Sought To Lease Floating Restaurant
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SNOW HILL – Final repairs are being made to the town’s new riverboat as officials prepare to bring it to Snow Hill by the end of the month.

As repairs near completion, the Town of Snow Hill has spent the past several weeks seeking proposals from potential operators of what is essentially a floating restaurant. Proposals are due to the town by March 5.

“We really want to have an independent operator that we lease the boat to,” Town Manager Gary Weber said.

The Black-Eyed Susan, the 149-seat riverboat purchased in 2020 with a loan from Worcester County, has been at Murtech Marine in Salisbury since the fall undergoing repairs. Though Weber initially hoped to have the boat fixed up and docked in Snow Hill by mid-February, the extensive to-do list associated with bringing the boat to town, paired with delays associated with COVID-19, slowed the process. Work is now almost done however.

“It’s looking really lovely,” Weber said. “They’re repainting everything. Most of the repairs are done.”

He now expects the boat to be docked in Snow Hill by the end of March and potentially offering rides by the end of May.

“We’re shooting for first cruise Memorial Day weekend,” he said.

The boat will be docked at the end of Bank Street, a location Weber said was chosen because of the visibility it would give the vessel.

“You’ll actually be able to see it from downtown,” Weber said.

Weber said he’d had some interest from potential operators but that the town wanted to ensure everyone had a chance to review the opportunity and had issued a formal request for proposals in February. If Snow Hill doesn’t receive a suitable proposal, Weber said the town would hire someone to operate the boat if necessary.

“It’s not difficult,” he said. “It’s basically a floating restaurant.”

Weber said it would be up to the operator whether the Black-Eyed Susan would run year-round or not. Regardless, he says the community is looking forward to the addition of Snow Hill’s new attraction.

“We’re very excited about it,” he said. “It’s going to make a major impact on our riverscape.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.