FREDERICKTOWN – Commissioners in Fayette County appear poised to sell the historic ferryboat Frederick, which was idled permanently along the Monongahela River at Fredericktown two weeks ago due to dwindling ridership and increased operational costs.
Fayette Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said she was able to stall the notice of sale at a meeting Tuesday in hopes the board will consider other options for the ferry built in 1948 as part of a service that had been in operation in the area for nearly two centuries.
Zimmerlink said she didn’t want to sell the ferry without exploring other options, which could include another group assuming ownership and keeping it as a tourist attraction at its present location.
“My fellow two commissioners say they do not want to entertain any other options other than selling,” she said. “Selling to me means someone could bid and scrap it.”
Fredericktown businessman Dennis Slagle said he hasn’t given up hope Fayette will offer the ferry to East Bethlehem Township as part of his plan to place it in a museum/visitor center in the village.
“We are the other option,” said Slagle, owner of BeeGraphix apparel company. “We’re going to try to keep it here in our downtown.”
He said he understands the ferry is a public asset and there are rules to follow on how Fayette can dispose of it.
Ferry supporter Evan T. Williams II of Carmichaels said it appears Fayette wants to get rid of the ferry as soon as possible. He’s also heard reports that people have been stealing things from the vessel while it is tied up along the shore in Fayette.
“It’s almost like they’re insulting the people who care about it,” Williams said. “The whole thing is still frustrating to me.”
The board is expected to act Tuesday on the fate of the steel vessel, Zimmerlink said.