Montgomery Sunken Riverboat: Eyesore or Sight?

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By Heather VacLav


A large boat on the Alabama River in Montgomery is still under water after sinking in April. The boat has been on its side for more than three months in front of the Capitol Oyster Bar. Even though the riverboat is not harming anyone, many people want it removed to help beautify the growing riverfront development.


“We have a lot of curiosity seekers, and people come down and take pictures,” said Lewis Mashburn, the owner of Capitol Oyster Bar and the sunken boat.


Mashburn says high cost and trouble finding contractors are causing setbacks to get the boat taken care of. “It’s still here because we haven't been able to make a deal with anybody about getting the boat out,” Masburn said.


But it’s not for lack of trying.


“I had one guy that tried, and he got frustrated and left, and then I've had other guys tell me that they would be here on Monday, and I haven't seen them again,” Washburn said standing in front of the riverboat off the shoreline.


Mashburn says when he bought the Capitol Oyster Bar’s new property a year ago; the river boat came with the purchase, but he hasn’t used it.


“I guess some people might think its an eyesore,” Washburn said, “But some people thought it as an eyesore [before] when it was sitting there floating.”


The restaurant has not seen negative impacts to business, but whether the boat should stay or go is a debate between regular customers.


“It was there when we first started coming when they moved down here, and then it sunk and now it’s just kind of part of the ambiance of the place,” Katherine Carrington said.


Another woman said, “I think it would look better if it moved and got cleaned up…so it will be a thing of beauty not a distraction.”


If Mashburn chose to fix the hole in the boat, the repair could cost him nearly $13,000.


“I'm glad Lewis owns it and not me because it’s expensive,” said Mike Weeks of Montgomery. “I hope the community will come forward and try to help alleviate this problem.”


But Mashburn says no one, not even the city of Montgomery has come forward to help him pay to fix the so called “eyesore”.


“We could get it out in the next few days or the next few weeks,” Mashburn said.


The good news: the riverboat hasn't contaminated the Alabama River. Mashburn says it is more or less a barge with a top, so that means no engines or fuel tanks.


Mashburn says he plans on doing something to fix the problem with the boat by the end of the summer.


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Daryl said on Thursday, Sep 6 at 5:29 PM

Loved your article, well written. The boat should be removed and put back afloat while it still is salvageable. Great job and two thumbs up for the beautiful miss VacLav

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