Lowell Showboat closes to public
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – Looking from her chamber office window on a chilly January afternoon, executive director Liz Baker has a clear picture of the Lowell Showboat still decked out in its Christmas glory.
There’s the mailbox for letters to the Santa and the big sugar canes, garlands and Christmas figurines. The archway is decorated with pink garland.
“The showboat is iconic,” Baker said. “It’s been a part of so many people’s lives.”
The fifth replica of a Mississippi steamboat, has served as the Lowell Area Chamber’s logo for the last 20 years, until the chamber adopted a new one.
In the official press release, city manager Mike Burns stated the need to close the Showboat to the public as of Jan. 4, 2017 for safety reasons.
“The Robert E. Lee’s long history and tradition in the community has made this a very difficult decision,” he said.
However, the committee “Rebuild the Lowell Showboat” has already been preparing to replace the Showboat with a new structure.
“We’ve been preparing for this,” Baker said. “There is going to be a new structure that will somewhat resemble the old Showboat.”
The committee expects to submit formal application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) by the end of the month.
The new lower maintenance structure will sit on a platform dock to prevent rotting in water.
The current Showboat, although closed to the public, is not going anywhere.
“It will stand there until we’re ready to put the new structure out there,” Baker said. “The chamber will continue to maintain it.”
The Showboat has been an integral part of the Lowell community and its citizens. Over the last 85 years, it has served as the major venue for entertainment, and as a backdrop for the Sizzlin’ Summer concert series, the Riverwalk Festival and the Lowell Christmas festivities.
Santa posed with children for the last time on the Showboat during Christmas festivities in december of 2016.
“Things deteriorate,” said Baker, “our hope is to create a different structure with some of the old elements like the smoke stacks, and better use of space. It will serve the same purpose.”
According to Baker, the Showboat, owned by the city, has outlived similar venues.
“It is our shared belief that the current structure built in 1979 has served us well, it has outlived its expected lifespan,” said Burns.
The “Rebuild the Lowell Showboat” committee will be hosting an informational meeting on Jan. 19th at 7 p.m. at the city hall seeking input from the residents.
It is the hope of the committee, to have a new structiure in place in 2018.
“The Showboat is is iconic, but it is also our future,” said Baker.
Copyright © 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.