Irvin, Haunted Ship Canceled For Season Because Of Slip/Seawall Work

Delayed Seawall Reconstruction, MPCA Slip Work To Blame

DULUTH, Minn. – The William A. Irvin’s summer tours and even the popular Haunted Ship are called off for 2018.

That complicated and delayed seawall reconstruction work is ultimately to blame. And docking behind the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) to possibly open is no longer an option.

Duluth city councilor Zack Filipovich tells FOX 21 the season closure of the William A. Irvin is disappointing, but he says the seawall reconstruction in the Minnesota Slip needs to get done and moving the Irvin in the fall will allow the historic ship to get a face-lift.

“It has not been serviced or in any dry dock like this since the 1970s or before, so the Irvin is due for a little tune–up,” said Filipovich.

City leaders say the Irvin can’t open for the season behind the DECC, because costly modifications to the seawall would have to be made in the Harbor.

Later this summer the Irvin will be pulled out of the Slip and housed at Fraser Shipyards in Superior for the restoration of its hull, last completed in 1986.

That comes with a $600,000 price tag.

Councilor Filipovich says a state grant will help cover the cost and reimburse the city and the DECC, who will split the cost.

The move also allows the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to start the Slip’s contamination cleanup this fall.

“When the seawalls were built, they allowed for pretty much holes in the bottom that now dirt and sediment is washing out into the base,” said Filipovich. “We have to clean it, cap the contaminants and then restore it like the actual barrier. That’s hard to do when there is nothing behind it to help stabilize it and keep it in place.”

Meanwhile, with the ship out of commission, this means the popular haunted ship in the Irvin will not happen this Halloween.

Former Duluth mayor Don Ness, who is a board member with the DECC, posted on Facebook saying there was an option to maintain the Haunted Ship season docked behind the DECC, but it would cost more than $100,000 and Ness said the DECC, along with the city, decided to forgo those costs as the fiscally responsible action to take.

City officials tell us all of the delays and complications will be worth it in the end with a clean Minnesota Slip, a stable seawall and new sidewalks and a bike path.

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