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City finalizes long-term lease with Tell City Boat Works

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By Vince Luecke

Startup firm to pay $120,000 for initial 10 years

TELL CITY - A formal lease agreement was signed last week between Tell City officials and Don Foertsch, president of Tell City Boat Works, over his startup company's use of city-owned property for manufacturing and repairing rivergoing vessels.

The lease calls for Foertsch to pay the city $120,000 up front for the first 10 years of the lease. Tell City Boat Works is also given the option of two 10-year extensions for which it will pay $180,000 and $240,000, respectively.

Foertsch appeared before city officials late last year to express an interest in using land and buildings formerly used by barge builder Maxon Marine to make marine vessels. He has agreed to work with the Perry County Port Authority, which has leased the site from the city for more than a decade.

Stipulations of the agreement allow Foertsch to scrap no more than one barge per month and he will be required to refurbish an existing river cell within five years to the point where it will support a crane capable of offloading products from barges.

Foertsch also agrees to pour a pig-iron-storage pad for the port authority's use and to construct a structure on the river side of the floodwall with a minimum size of 30,000-square-foot. Tell City Boat Works is also given the option of leasing a warehouse on the dry side of the floodwall but before assuming that space, it must construct for the city a 152-foot by 75-foot pole building for storing sand and salt. The city currently uses the Maxon warehouse to store sand and salt for treating streets during the winter.

The new building will likely be built at the intersection of Fifth and Schiller streets near the existing city garage and its construction was part of negotiations with another firm, Tell City Marine LLC, that proposed building barges at the site. Those plans never materialized.

The lease outlines Tell City Boat Works' goal of creating 50 full-time jobs after a year but must have a minimum of 10 people employed within that time. The city agrees to support a tax abatement on personal property but could rescind abatements if employment goals aren't met.