New planned Ches. City ferry service sinks
— Unfortunately, town leaders are once again back at the drawing board on a new ferry service after the latest plan to be announced failed to come to fruition.
At the town’s July 11 meeting, Mayor Dean Geracimos announced that town officials had identified a “legit, great ferry service” with whom they were negotiating terms. While declining to publicly identify that
service, the mayor referred to the boat as “a 1940s Chesapeake Bay deadrise, all-wood boat from North East,” which he hoped could begin serving customers as soon as Aug. 1.
On July 29, however, Chesapeake City posted a note on its website informing residents that the ferry service would not be launching as planned.
“Recently we thought we had finally found a captain and boat to come to town for the purpose of giving canal boat tours for our visitors to enjoy, and, more importantly, to provide an enjoyable way to cross the canal from one side of town to the other,” the note reads. “We especially wanted a ferry business that could accommodate the many people who ride their bicycles along the Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail who would like to visit the retail businesses on the south side of Chesapeake City. The new ferry service was announced to start on Aug. 1, but unfortunately this will not be taking place. We are still looking.”
During the town board’s discussions about the ferry service, Councilman Harry Sampson expressed concerns with the low price of crossings that the undisclosed business was proposing, $2 per person, noting that would barely cover the costs of operation for ferrying passengers. Town Manager Sandra Edwards noted that the business was looking at more than just a ferry schedule to make the venture worth their while.
The waterfront town has been without a ferry service for the first time in years after the retirement of Ralph and Clare Hazel, the operators of the Miss Clare, this past winter.
The town has been fervently seeking a new ferry service in order to get users from the trailhead on the north side to the shops and restaurants on the south side. Otherwise, bicyclists would have to ride up and over the Chesapeake City Bridge, a venture further pained by the ongoing work there that will cause traffic delays through the summer.
In the meantime, some bed and breakfast owners have reportedly offered to pick up bicyclists in vans to make the trip over the bridge, but a ferry service would make the journey much less cumbersome.
“The goal is that on Friday afternoon (the ferry) is picking up 10 people on bikes from the trail with their backpacks to come here and stay the weekend,” Geracimos said. “There’s just so many opportunities there.”