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The Town of Leonardtown was awarded a $100,000 grant (the maximum ever given) by the Maryland Heritage Area Authority to use for the purchase of the Black-Eyed Susan, an authentic paddlewheel riverboat (one of only 6 remaining in the country) to help bring more activity and spur smart development of Leonardtown’s waterfront. This grant is tantamount to a big “nod of approval” from the state, as they see the significance and economic vitality it will bring to our charming town – something that will surely become an icon for years to come.

With a wide variety of affordable events as well as well as excellent dining and a truly unique experience and relaxing atmosphere, the riverboat will help draw folks into town, where they will also patronize all of our other wonderful businesses – many of which are struggling right now. Many times over, residents have mentioned that there are few things for kids and families to do – this would give a fun and educational venue for just these types of activities. It hearkens back to an age in the 19th and early 20th century, when paddleboats of all types plied the waters of the Potomac and Breton Bay, stopping in Leonardtown and bringing fun and excitement with them!

Leonardtown has formed a committee of local experts from many related disciplines to investigate all aspects of this opportunity, including the condition of the boat, past operations, financials, and prospective uses and partnerships. Though the Town would purchase the vessel, it would work with another organization that would actually be responsible for its operation and other expenses. Thorough inspections, surveys, and other “due-diligence” are being done to make sure this purchase would be sound and not a drain on the Town in the future. If this is approved, we will seek tireless public input to make this truly “the community’s boat”.

The Town Council will vote on whether to approve this project based on what they hear from the citizens of Leonardtown. The more input, the better, so please take a few minutes to email, write, call or stop in to the Town Council and give them your thoughts! The contact email is Leonardtown.commissioners@leonardtownmd.gov.


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