I hope the citizenry of Chattanooga answers this call to arms.
The DELTA QUEEN will much more than preserve history. She will continue to collect much needed tax dollars for Chattanooga, create tourism dollars in Chattanooga, create jobs for many Chattanoogans, and give Chattanooga a unique place in her history and the history of the American River Steamboat.
I could talk about her history for hours...but, the economic benefit to Chattanooga is the point here. For a small donation you could preserve much more for Chattanooga than a piece of history, you could guarantee the future of a tax-paying (hotel) entity, an employer, and a tourist attraction. The beauty of this is whole situation is the boat is a no loss investment. For as long as she is preserved here, the boat will continue to contribute to the local economy.
What is my connection to the boat and why am I carrying her torch? I am a former crew member of several years who saw first hand the attention this world renown steamboat attracted when she was running. I know the economic benefit she brought to every town she landed at. Unfortunately, I know the effect her discontinued operation has had on these same towns. People once came from all over the world to ride her, now they travel from all over the world to see her. While in Chattanooga they spend money on many things, not only the boat. Most of her guests were and continue to be affluent members of society...a group Chattanooga could benefit greatly from having in their community. Chattanooga is a beautiful city, with alot to offer these guests. I have been a guest at the hotel myself. While in your city I have visited many tourist attractions (the Tennessee Aquarium, the SOUTHERN BELLE, the Imax Theatre, multiple restaurants, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, Look Out Mountain...my point being, most of the DELTA QUEEN's guests will do the same.
Please, get behind this great opportunity before it is gone. For if she leaves, she may not be preserved...but, worse, Chattanooga loses the economic benefit of her revenue.
Travis C. Vasconcelos (Former DELTA QUEEN Riverlorian)