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Spamtown Belle Sent to Dry Dock

May 15, 2019 08:50 PM

ABC 6 News) -- It's been a big part of summer in Austin for 20 years. But this could be a year in dry dock for the Spamtown Belle.

“Dry dock means it's not going to see the water again" Austin Park and Rec director Kevin Nelson said.

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The paddle-wheeler was built in 1956. It’s found a home on Austin’s East Side Lake.

"It was over-hauled or refurbished around 1999 when it was donated to the city. And it was a budget item at that time to maintain and run it" Kevin Nelson said.

The funding now comes exclusively from donations.

But the Belle is showing its age ... and it could cost 30-thousand dollars to get it ship-shape.

"Last year as they pulled it out of the lake an axel broke on the trailer” Park and rec director Kevin Nelson said. “The drive train would need replacing as well as the electrical system and the bilge pumps of course to keep it water-worthy when it's on the water."

And parts for a 63 year old paddle-wheeler are hard to find.

"So the board looked at this and said maybe it's time to dry dock it" Kevin Nelson.

“Everyone is looking for those unique things they can tell their friends that they did and Austin has that with the Spamtown Belle” said nancy Schnable, executive director of “Discover Austin”.

“Dry dock doesn't mean it's on the shore forever” Kevin Nelson said. “But there's certainly an opportunity of somebody comes forth and says that looks like a worthy project for me or my group to take on so it may again see the water."

KAAL-TV

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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