Gee's Bend Ferry Boat Project

It's been almost one year since Ferry Service was reinstated between Camden and the tiny town of Gee's Bend.  Many people thought it would never work, but county officials are getting ready to embark on phase two of the project.  They say they're optimistic the ferry is here to stay.

The ferry boat serves as a life-line to the people of gee's bend.  For Channie Pettway it means what was an hour long trip to town is now only 15 minutes.  She says she's also proud to show it off to out of town guests.  "If you want to ride the ferry and cross over and go shopping in Selma or Thomasville, you can ride over and go," says Pettway.  In fact, out of town tourists make up about half of the boat's passengers.  They come to Gee's Bend because of its residents' color quilts.  Those quilts were discovered by outside art collectors and are displayed in museums around the country.  Newspaper man Hollis Curl wrote an editorial, convincing the state and federal governments to reinstate ferry service in Gee's Bend for the first time since 1992.  "I knew of people who had died because they couldn't get an ambulance.  The economy was suffering, " says Mr. Curl. Now Wilcox County is breaking ground on a new project, a ferry boat terminal for the Camden side of the Alabama River.  County Commissioners say the terminal will also host civic events and museum displays.

Auburn University donated the land for that new terminal.  The $500,000 price tag is being split by the county and federal governments.  The ferry boat is maintained by the State Department of Transportation.