LOWELL, Mich. — Construction on the sixth incarnation of the Lowell Showboat is close to being completed, but for all the work to be truly finished, the committee must reach its fundraising goal of $780,000 by the self-imposed deadline of April 20.
With just six days left, the committee says it's $48,000 short, meaning portions of the boat will have to be left unfinished for when it opens to the public in June.
"Of the $780,000, the committee has raised $732,245," said Mike Burns, who is Lowell's City Manager. "We're so close, but the committee wants to wrap up the fundraising."
Along with direct cash donations to their website, the committee will continue with two streams of revenue that have been inching them closer to their financial goal. Portland Federal Credit Union (PFCU) is offering to match up to $7,500 in donations, and naming opportunities are available for those who wish to sponsor a part of the Showboat.
"For a minimum of $125, donors can have a brick inscribed and placed on the Riverwalk in front of the boat," Burns said.
The previous edition of the Showboat sustained flood damage in 2013 and was torn down four years later. 2017 was also the year fundraising was started by the Lowell Rotary Club auction, along with state grants secured by then-State Senator Dave Hildenbrand. Construction on the boat began last summer and has continued ever since, as have the committee's fundraising efforts.
Burns said the lifespan of the new Showboat will likely be 100 years because it's made entirely out of steel, not wood.
13 ON YOUR SIDE was able to gain access to the Showboat Wednesday to show what the interior looks like. The first and second floors, connected by a huge grand staircase, are very spacious. Most of the painting and trim work is done and the ceilings on both floors are almost filled in.
The third level is the pilot house, featuring a large wooden wheel.
"The pilot house is big enough for people to hold meetings or have an event, too," added Burns. "It's unique and is really coming into shape."
Burns anticipates all the work to be completed on the boat by late May. The first event on the boat is tentatively scheduled for June 11.
"We're putting together a Gala Celebration to recognize all the people who donated and supported us to make this boat become a reality in two years," Burns said. "Once the June 11 event is complete, the boat will then be made available for rental or private events like weddings, reunions and parties."
If the committee isn't able to raise the remaining $48,000 by April 20, Burns says they'll have to pull back on the work.
"I want to be clear in saying that the $48,000 is to complete the Showboat," Burns said. "That money doesn't cover the bathrooms we hope to install along the Riverwalk. Money for the bathrooms will come from elsewhere."
For more information about the Lowell Showboat and how to make a donation, visit the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce website.
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