More than one visitor came in to express support for the idea of revamping the former Marina de Gabouri as a boat dock during last Thursday’s County Commission meeting.
Mike and Jodi Uding said they had read Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson’s comments on the marina’s tourism potential in the Ste. Genevieve Herald and wanted to express their support.
“We’re just very supportive of that,” Jodi Uding said.
She said that they are in a sailboat club that cruises the Mississippi and Tennessee rivers.
“Two hundred boaters a year do this thing known as ‘The Great Loop’ and there’s all sorts of books and literature and tour guides for the folks doing this route,” she explained. “They document wonderful places to stop.
“Of course the worst place [described] in every book is from Alton [Illinois, north of St. Louis] to Kentucky Lake. It’s like, ‘Oh this is treacherous, horrible.’ People keep their pets in Alton so they don’t have to take them down the Mississippi River.
“There’s no place to even stop, no place to get fuel. I’m thinking, ‘We have the most beautiful part of the damn river, and everyone thinks it’s horrible.’ If they could just stop here and tie up and we had transportation to take ’em to the wineries and the restaurants.”
Jodi Uding said when they fly over Chester, Illinois, they see the riverboats docking.
“It’s kind of endless, what it could do,” Nelson said, referring to a marina that could again dock riverboats.
Jodi Uding asked how a reestablishment of a port at the marina location could be accomplished.
“We were just talking about it,” Nelson said. “Our authority is nothing, zero on that.
“The city has the contract for the boat ramp with the conservation department. The road in, it’s not cut and dried [who is responsible for it]. … When you look at the contracts, there’s no hard contract. But the city does have the easement to use it because they put that $500,000 boat ramp in it.
“What we’re trying to do is just fan the flames to get more people interested in it. I see endless [opportunities] with the National Park Service coming in, with the [museum] learning center opening up.”
“People want to see the river,” Jodi Uding said. “We’re a river town, and you can’t even see it.”
“It was really a hot item 15, 20 years ago,” Nelson said, referring to the days when riverboats docked at the marina and passengers visited the town.
See complete story in the February 27 edition of the Herald.