City, business agree to remove barge
HUNTINGTON -- The city of Huntington is one step closer to removing a leaking barge from Harris Riverfront Park and seeking redevelopment ideas for the marina space where it resides.
Mayor Steve Williams says the city has reached an agreement with Superior Marine of South Point, Ohio, to remove the leaking vessel, which is about 300 feet in length, on the eastern end of the riverfront park. That will occur as soon as 10 houseboats that are docked at the marina are moved, Williams said. All of the docks and other marina-related infrastructure will then be cleared from the area.
"Nothing will be left of the riverfront marina once we're done," Williams said. "We'll then begin soliciting proposals on a riverfront development plan."
The city-owned barge has been a worry for city officials since a significant leak was discovered there May 9. City officials have known for years that the barge is prone to take on water when river levels are low, but the leak that sprung in May forced them to place two public works employees on the barge around the clock to pump water from the barge. The work has since been contracted to a private company. Altogether, the city is expected to spend more than $100,000 on keeping the barge afloat since May.
The city will not incur any additional expenses to remove the barge and marina infrastructure because it is giving the barge to Superior Marine in exchange for the work, Williams said. He also said David Duffield, who owns the Huntington Yacht Club and operates the marina space and leases the vacant restaurant space on top of the barge from the city, has been cooperative since the issue arose. The city is still negotiating a buyout of the final two years of the lease that Duffield has with the city, Williams said.
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