Business owners in Grafton, Illinois expect the tourist trade to pick up after this Friday. That's when the Grafton Ferry will start running again after being closed for the past three years. The ferry spans the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers between Missouri and Illinois.
The city of Grafton bought the landings and spent $200,000 dredging the river to remove silt buildup. The city is working on a federal grant to help cover the cost of maintaining the channel.
The 12 minute ferry ride from St. Charles to Grafton will cost $8 one way, $15 round trip. The ferry will operate from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The city will celebrate the reopening with a public ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00 a.m. Friday morning at the Grafton launch.
The scrap heap may be the final resting place for The Goldenrod Showboat, which shut down in 2001 after decades on the St. Louis and St. Charles riverfront.
The St Louis Post Dispatch reports the Historic Riverboat Preservation Association, a non-profit group has failed to raise the money needed to renovate the 104-year-old vessel, which has been in storage on the Illinois River in Calhoun County since 2003.
court-ordered auction will be held Saturday at the boat’s current dock north of Kampsville to try to cover $69,508 in unpaid mooring fees and other costs.
The boat was declared a national historic landmark in 1968.
The Goldenrod’s future has been in doubt since it was closed in 2001 as a stationary dinner theater in St. Charles after a Coast Guard safety check.