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Tennessee Group Hopes To Purchase Delta Queen

A Chattanooga, Tennessee-based foundation says it has a plan to buy the Delta Queen steamboat. The 85 year old paddlewheeler has been a floating hotelin Chattanooga since its congressional safety exemption for certain overnight excursions was not renewed in 2009.The vessel was also put up for sale by its owner, Ambassadors International.Another non-profit group, Save the Delta Queen, based in Cincinnati, submitted a bid but says it’s no longer in the running.An Ambassadors spokesperson declined comment other than to say that the vessel is still for sale, but Robin Derryberry with the Delta Queen Preservation Foundationsays her group’s plan to buy and preserve the steamboat remains active. "We’re trying to raise the money to purchase the Delta Queen and make the repairs that she desperately needs and to do some things to keep her in very pristine shape for the future," she said, adding that the group would also like to resume river excursions. The Chattanooga group was co-founded by Randy and Leah Ann Ingram, who manage the floating hotel for Ambassadors International.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.