Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

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The Post:

Floating Entertainment On The Waterfront

When the topic of riverboats on the Ohio River comes up, the discussion invariably comes around to riverboat gambling. Some people want it, some people hate it, but it always comes up. Still, even if the legislation were in place to allow riverboat gambling in Maysville Kentucky, I doubt we'd see a floating casino here anytime soon. More likely, we could get some floating restaurants, but there's headaches there as well.

You'd be surprised what a proper sternwheeler costs these days. Ever since I read Huckleberry Finn in high school, I've been in love with tall stacks. So every now and then I Google it up to see what they cost. On the low end, you can get a "cheap" knock-off for around a couple of hundred thousand dollars that might work well for a restaurant. But for the proper authentic sternwheeler straight out of a Mark Twain novel, appropriate for a high-class gambling establishment, it's going to cost you at least one million (and that's used). A casino could pay for itself quickly, but a restaurant might struggle to pay off the boat it's housed in.

Before you even get a boat and deck it out, I've learned, you have to check with the Army Corps of Engineers to see if Maysville's waterfront can support a permanent floating restaurant or casino. They're the guys in charge of making sure the Ohio River runs smoothly, maintaining the water locks and regulating river heights, and so on. It may seem as easy as just docking the boat, but when it's a permanent fixture, all manner of problems can arise. In 1999, for example, Caesars Indiana needed the Feds to dredge the Ohio River and free its stranded riverboat casino, after water levels on the Ohio River dropped from 11 feet to 9 feet. It's an amazing testament to the power of the Ohio River when an otherwise unnoticeable two feet drop caused the casino operation to close for several weeks, losing $500,000 a day while it was closed. Because of the complexity of keeping the river flowing, the Army Corps of Engineers only approves certain areas for permanent fixtures.

So that's what might be involved in bringing some floating entertainment to the Maysville Kentucky waterfront. One thing I haven't completely figured out is how to make my dream come true of turning an old unused barge into a floating apartment. Now that would definitely provide entertainment for anyone watching.