The showboat Becky Thatcher glided safely into port at Neville Island on the Ohio River just north of Pittsburgh Friday.
"She pulled into the docks at 9 a.m. and made the trip here perfectly," said Jeff Levin, owner of the 80-year-old sternwheeler that was towed out of Marietta Wednesday morning after being moored for more than 34 years in the Pioneer City.
"The hull was checked out on arrival and it was flawless - dry, with no leaks at all," Levin said. "A local roofer said 75 percent to 80 percent of the roof is in great shape, so we'll be having some roof repairs done next week, but the two top floors inside are still looking very good."
With winter coming on, Levin said he has taken the Becky Thatcher off the sales market and plans to do more refurbishing of the vessel while it's docked at Neville Island.
"It's not dilapidated at all; the boat just needs some repainting, and there was some mildew that needed removed," he said. "After refurbishing I want to lease it out, but it needs a strong tenant who can pay enough rent to keep the boat well maintained."
On Tuesday, Levin told a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter that he would like to restore the showboat to its original grandeur, as it currently looked a bit run-down. But he added that, if needed, a restaurant could potentially be up and running on the vessel within a week's time.
Facing eviction proceedings initiated by the city of Marietta, Levin had the Becky Thatcher towed from Marietta on Wednesday. The boat was originally brought to town in 1975 and served as a dinner theater, then a restaurant for several years.
Levin bought the showboat in 2005. It operated as a restaurant for a short time after the purchase, but since 2006, the sternwheeler had sat vacant at its mooring along a stretch of city-owned riverbank on the east side of the Muskingum River.
Earlier this year, with the blessing of Marietta City Council, eviction proceedings were begun to have the boat removed. City officials said there had been no economic activity generated by the vessel for more than two years, and no rent was being paid on the riverbank property where the boat was moored.
Levin claimed he had paid no rent because the city did not renew his lease on the property.
"The suit is still pending, and we have been in talks with Mr. Levin's attorney," Marietta Law Director Roland Riggs III said on Friday.
"But we've really accomplished the principal aim of our litigation, as the primary issue for the city was to get the Becky moved so the property could be used for some purpose that would support economic development," he said.
Councilman Jon Grimm, R-3rd Ward, who chairs the city's lands, buildings and parks committee, said no decision had been made about the property at this time.
"We'll clean up the riverbank first, then we'll make some decisions," he said.
"And we didn't necessarily want the Becky to leave Marietta, we just wanted something to be done with it," Grimm said.