VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — The fate of the Sweet Olive, which took tourists on tours of the Mississippi River for nine years, is in the hands of Mack Varner, Vicksburg's Community Court judge.
Community Development Director Victor Gray-Lewis said a hearing on the boat, which has been declared a nuisance by the city, will be May 20.
Mississippi River Tours owners Ann and Jim Jones closed their business in 2012, and the Sweet Olive has remained moored at the public landing at City Front. Jim Jones' father started the business in 2003. Ann Jones declined to comment on the situation.
"We had been getting complaints about the Sweet Olive from the (Mississippi and American) queens that come in and from others, and (they) asked if we could do something with the boat," Gray-Lewis told the board at a work session this week.
"It's no longer river-worthy. The Coast Guard no longer certifies it, and it just looks bad. It's not maintained at all; it's unsightly. It's serving as a detriment when the tour boats come in."
Gray-Lewis said he sent the Jones' a letter in February asking them to remove the boat, citing a city ordinance that prohibits people from using the city's public landing along the Yazoo Diversion Canal at city front without the permission of the board or the police chief.
"We gave them 30 days to do something. The 30 days was up three weeks ago, and the boat is still there," he said, adding he talked with Ann Jones, who said they were trying to find a buyer for the boat. She had also written the board a letter asking to leave the boat at City Front, he said.
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