Sweet Olive owners speak out

Published 11:11 am Thursday, April 17, 2014

In response to the article on the April 15, “Sweet Olive declared a nuisance,” we would like to explain our position.

Mississippi River Tours began business in June of 2003 and ceased operation in August of 2012. During the nine years of business, we took thousands out on the river for a fun and educational experience. Our boat and crew were always responsible and safe. The Coast Guard approved the boat every year. Every five years, the Coast Guard gives a Certificate of Inspection of the boat in dry dock. By the second five-year inspection, we were just tired and wanted to recruit some other owner to take the boat and the business. The boat has been at the city waterfront while we advertised to sell the boat and business. During this time, we have moved it daily and kept it in good repair, which is difficult, since the dock has been out of the water for two years. We haven’t found a place to move it away from the waterfront that would be safe from vandals, and that is the real problem.

During this period, we have talked to the city and we are in regular conversation with the queens. Our sources on the queens say that they haven’t complained to the city and they have ample opportunity to talk to use directly.

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While we were in business, we insured the city against any liability, and we continue to do so. We helped move the dock back and forth and helped people who came in by river, since there is no access to gas or groceries at the city’s waterfront dock.

So now we have four museums, murals on the seawall, and a children’s park all within one block of the river, but no way to take people out on it. The Mississippi River is one of the biggest attractions in the world. The City of Vicksburg should be actively recruiting businesses on the waterfront. There is money for tourism development at the state that could be used to build a more substantial dock and other exciting amenities. At the present time, if visitors couldn’t see the “Sweet Olive” there wouldn’t be anything except two unsightly dumpsters that are usually full of trash.

No one would like to sell the boat more than us. We remain interested in recruiting local people to take this boat and business. It is a great service to the community, but what does this action say to them?

James R. and Ann B. Jones

Owners of the Sweet Olive