Irvin May Not Return To Slip Until August; Ship’s Maintenance Work In Question

DULUTH, Minn.- The William A. Irvin may not get its paint job and rehab work after all.

According to DECC’s Executive Director Chelly Townsend, the bids for the Irvin’s maintenance work at Fraser Shipyards are coming in higher than expected.

Townsend said they can’t pay much more than $500,000 worth of grant money available from the Minnesota Historical Society.

The City of Duluth has already paid $850,000 to move the Irvin last September so crews could finish the Minnesota Slip restoration project in Canal Park.

The Irvin has been docked at Fraser Shipyards in Superior for the past seven months. It’s third in line behind two other ships needing dry-dock maintenance work.

If a contract is figured out, the DECC hopes to have the Irvin painted and hull rehab work done by the end of the summer in time for the popular Haunted Ship.

“We haven’t gotten a bid that we can manage, we might just be bringing it back,” Townsend said. “We would hate to do that, but it’s a possibility.”  “We’re a little disappointed, we just would really like to get a contract.”

The Irvin’s maintenance at Fraser is preventative, Townsend said.  It was just a convenient opportunity to tackle the historic ship’s condition down below, as it has not left the Minnesota Slip for 30 years.

The ship museum attracts thousands of visitors and brings in $200,000 in revenue during a normal operating year.


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