WSFA 12 News Update: Harriott II Will Be Ready in December

Montgomery, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery's new riverboat may soon have a new captain. John Bull, the captain and owner of the city's old riverboat, the Betsy Ann, was picked to run the Harriott II. But, it's not a done deal because the contracts haven't been signed yet.

In the meantime, workers are busy getting the boat ready for its first trip in December. After a fresh coat of paint, new carpets, new equipment and new glass in all the windows, the Harriott II will then be ready to go.

The Mayor's Executive Assistant Jeff Downes pointing to the windows says the cracks have got to go. "You have a crack in the glass here. You have a couple of cracks right up here and the Coast Guard will not approve any vessel with cracked glass."

But, there is something here they probably can't fix. I asked Downes about the noise. "Where's the generator? It's loud over here." Downes explained it's under the bar. "The generator is actually right up under us."   I then asked, "And, that's where it will be all the time?" Downes answers "Yes, on the second floor you can't hear it as much as you can on the first floor." And, he says once a band is playing and people are dancing, you probably won't hear the generator at all.

Downes then takes me up to another dining room. "This is the second level. This is where you can have a separate party or if you have a large group you could actually have two rooms with parties." There will be buffets or sit down dinners and Downes says the City's Food Service will handle that. "The Food Services Department operates a catering operation citywide." I then asked about taste. "Is the food really good though?" Downes says "It's awesome. You need to have some of Jimmy Lizby's prime rib, his barbecue, his catfish. You can't beat it anywhere in town."

And, if you don't want to dine, there's a third level. "This is where you'll have lounge chairs and some things for people to see outside," says Downes. On the third level, you can just take in the scenery or some of the area's history. Downes brings up the past. "Historians have said the first steamship came up here to bring the commodity of cotton to the marketplace." I knew a little about this.   "And, that was named the Harriett wasn't it?" Downes confirmed it. "Yeah, and now we have the Harrioitt II with passengers."

The Riverfront Development Foundation took out an 800-thousand dollar loan and it will be paid back the riverboat operation profits. The cost and schedule for the boat will be worked out once the operator signs the contract.  We are told tickets will be available online.  

Reporter: Eileen Jones