2013-02-24 / Viewpoints

Letters to the editor

Shiawassee Queen should be maintained

Dear Editor,

The Chesaning Showboat has been a cornerstone of our community since 1937 when the “Shiawassee Queen” came around the bend as “Here Comes the Showboat” rang out for the first time. Over the past 70 years or so, the Showboat has been an integral part of our community. While the Showboat Festival has evolved and changed over the years, the symbol of the Showboat still exists. The Shiawassee Queen is that symbol and there is an active group of community members trying to keep that symbol alive and well.

The boat as it sits today is no longer viable and as a result there is a plan to build a lighter and smaller Showboat. As with any large undertaking, the outcome is dependent on funding. Until the community is able to build a new boat, there is still a need to maintain and decorate the old boat.

Some have recently expressed safety concerns for those volunteering to decorate the boat. The existing Showboat can be made safe allowing volunteers to decorate. Using a ramp to access the boat was a new procedure utilized this year. The ramp was needed to board the boat during low water levels when the boat could not be pulled over and lashed to the retaining wall. Some of the safety concerns occurred during higher water levels when the boat was floating and chains were loose enough to let the boat move in the wind. The railing to which the ramp was attached was no match for the weight and momentum of the boat. The ramp can be used safely for the purpose of decorating, provided that the boat is properly anchored and stable before boarding.

Another concern has focused on portions of broken railing which can be repaired and made safe again. Materials have also been purchased and donated for rebuilding the front stairs. Other completed volunteer work includes repair to a leaking stairway cover, sealing leaking smoke stacks, and repair of the slip retaining wall. The roof replacement in 2011 stopped part of the deterioration and extended the boat’s longevity. Now is not the time to stop, but to move forward and allow volunteers to complete what has become a labor of love. Volunteers are still needed, now more than ever.

No matter how old or young you are, this boat is part of our history and our identify as the “Showboat City.”

Neil Pullman

Michael Maier

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 Tri-County Citizen, All Rights Reserved