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Published: Thursday, 4/7/2005

City looking for new director to reopen S.S. Boyer


The S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship, one of Toledo's biggest tourist attractions, remains closed to the public five weeks after the death of its director.

Edward Goyette, director since 1999, died Feb. 27 of pneumonia at the age of 50.

The city parks department, which took over operation of the ship a year ago, hopes to have a new manager in charge of the floating museum within two weeks.

Kattie Bond, director of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, said she is in discussions with two or more people who have experience with ships, and said she is waiting for proposals from them.

"We certainly hope we have it open by the beginning of May," Ms. Bond said.

She said the ship is available for arranged tours and rentals.

Whoever takes over running the Boyer will be expected to continue generating revenue from admission fees and group rentals to pay for the operation, she said.

From last April, when the city took over day-to-day management, through December, the Boyer took in $25,728, according to Mary Chris Skeldon, a spokesman for Mayor Jack Ford. Mr. Goyette was paid $17,280 during the same period, she said.

Mr. Goyette's salary was $24,000 a year under his previous contract with the nonprofit group International Park of Greater Toledo Inc., according to Walter Edelen, the president of the association.

Mr. Edelen said the revenue reported by the city was comparable to the association's revenues in previous years.

The Western Lake Erie Historical Society, which owns many of the displays and model ships on the Boyer, was invited to take over the management but declined, Mr. Edelen said.

The Ford administration ended its contract with International Park of Greater Toledo on April 15, 2004, after negotiations on a new contract failed.

The association refused to agree to the administration's request for 10 percent of the ship's gross operating revenue, Mr. Edelen said.

The Boyer, built in 1911, was a bulk freighter on the Great Lakes. It opened as a floating museum tied up at International Park in 1987.

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