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Ashland approves plan for riverboat restaurant

Feb. 22, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

ASHLAND — City Manager Steve Corbitt hopes to have a proposal to bring before the Ashland Board of City Commissioners about a riverboat restaurant at the Port of Ashland in about a month.

The Ashland Board of City Commissioners approved the concept of a riverboat restaurant Thursday night and authorized Corbitt to negotiate with a developer to bring a riverboat that would be docked at the Ashland riverfront and operate a floating restaurant.

"I hope to have something to take back to the commissioners in 30 days," Corbitt. The owner of the 135-foot-long Star of Louisville also is looking to move quickly on the proposal, Corbitt said Friday. If everything goes well, the restaurant could be operational by October, he said.

Corbitt already has forwarded to commissioners a cost estimate of adding 60 parking spaces along the riverfront at a cost of about $216,000 plus an additional cost of $10,000 to extend utilities including water, sewer and electric service to the site. In all it could cost between $250,000 to $300,000 for the project which could bring an estimated 60 jobs to the city.

"I think it's exciting for Ashland to have any development at the riverfront," said Mayor Chuck Charles. "It ties the riverfront to the downtown. It'll be truly healthful for the downtown."

The city could get $57,000 in fees and taxes per year that would cover the city's cost of the project in about five years, Corbitt said.

"We need to discuss docking fees that could run in the thousands," Corbitt said. "I like the proposal. I hope something can be worked out."

The city would need approval from the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to moor the boat and an accompanying party barge at the Ashland riverfront, said City Commissioner Kevin Gunderson.

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