Sundew finally soldTwin Ports businessman Jeff Foster received the keys to the retired U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sundew on Wednesday, and he said he expects to see the vessel operating under its own power by early next shipping season.
By: By Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune , Superior Telegram
Twin Ports businessman Jeff Foster received the keys to the retired U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sundew on Wednesday, and he said he expects to see the vessel operating under its own power by early next shipping season.
Foster pledges to return the 180-foot Sundew to action for the first time since it was decommissioned in 2004, and he says he has received plenty of offers to help.
“Since this has been in the paper, I’ve been contacted by a number of folks who have been stationed on the vessel. There’s an enormous amount of knowledge in this area,” he said. “People have offered to help in any way they can because they want to see the Sundew remain here and to see it under its own power again.”
The Sundew was donated to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center for use as a floating museum, but poor attendance prompted the DECC’s board to put the ship on the market. It cost more to dock and care for the vessel than ticket admissions generated, said Dan Russell, the DECC’s executive director.
Foster, owner of Jeff Foster Trucking Inc., offered to purchase the Sundew for just over $100,000, the minimum qualifying bid.
But the sale was delayed because of questions raised by the General Services Administration, a federal agency that oversees the sale of government surplus property. The Sundew was donated to the DECC with the caveat that it be placed on public display for a minimum of five years. While that time has passed, the agency questioned whether the DECC had fulfilled its obligation because the Sundew was open for tours for only about half the year. If the DECC received only half-credit as a result, it would have been forced to keep the cutter for another five years before it could consider selling it.
“Our attorney is drawing up the papers to transfer ownership right now,” Russell said Wednesday, after receiving the GSA’s go-ahead. “We’re just happy it’s staying in the Twin Ports.”
Foster plans to leave the Sundew at its location behind the William A. Irvin through the winter and then move it to a dock he owns in Superior next spring. Foster still won’t say exactly to what use he’ll put the vessel. Apparently he’s entertaining about 10 different options.
“For us, it’s kind of a burden we won’t have to bear any more,” Russell said. “I think it makes a lot of sense for the DECC and a lot of sense for Jeff, too.”