Mayor Sam Teresi and U.S. Steam Lines, Ltd., today announced a multi-year lease agreement that solidified the Chautauqua Belle’s spring and fall seasonal operations out of the McCrea Point Boat Landing.
During spring dates in May and June and fall dates in September and October, the Chautauqua Belle will make round-trip passenger excursions on the Chadakoin River from the Boat Landing to the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.
The agreement between the city and U.S. Steam Lines will allow the company to lease and maintain the dock within the boat slip in McCrea Point Park. The lease is good between May 1 and October 31 of each year for the next five years with an option for the company to lease the dock for an additional five years. U.S. Steam Lines will pay the city $250 the first year for the use of the dock. The rent will increase $25 per year to a final lease price of $350 in the final year.
The city has agreed to install a 30-amp, 220-volt, 3-phase electrical service at the dock for the tenant’s use, and the tenant has agreed to pay all electricity charges for its operations. U.S. Steam Lines will also be allowed to install appropriate signage for the Chautauqua Belle operation and take any and all measures to run a safe operation.
“Being able to arrange this lease agreement with the owners of the Chautauqua Belle is just another piece to the overall redevelopment of the waterfront and Riverwalk in the City of Jamestown. Having an historic steamship traverse the Chadakoin on a regular basis will recreate a nostalgic activity on which this city was built. Residents have hoped for and requested the Belle paddle down the Chadakoin and now it will be a reality,” Mayor Sam Teresi stated.
About U.S. Steam Lines, Ltd., and Captain Mathew Stage
In 2007, US Steam Lines, Ltd., was formed by Captain Mathew Stage to purchase the steamer, Chautauqua Belle, from the Sea Lion Project, Ltd., which had put the Belle up for scrap auction.
Captain Mat grew up on Chautauqua Lake. With a passion for boats, he started working at the age of 8 or 9 on Chautauqua Lake public vessels such as the Celebration, Miss Rose, the Summer Wind, and Frolic. At the age of 18 and with 10 years of experience in the tour boat industry, Captain Mat formed U.S. Steam Lines and purchased the Chautauqua Belle.
Taking on a multi-year restoration project, Captain Mat attempted to keep every part of the Chautauqua Belle original, just as builder, James Webster, had done. He then developed a historical tour that was based on the late 1800s history of the Chautauqua Lake area. Captain Mat has also catered dozens of parties, receptions, and weddings each year. The Belle runs almost daily throughout the summer.
The Chautauqua Belle is only one of five operating steamboats left in North America. It is one of the most photographed and well-known icons in Western New York. The Belle’s classic Steamboat lines, tall stacks, and gingerbread lattice have been featured in photos all over the world.
In addition to his passion for the Belle, Mat graduated from SUNY Maritime in the Bronx with an Unlimited 3rd Mate License. Today he sails with Oceania Cruise Lines on their flagship Riviera, a luxury cruise line operating into and out of ports all over the world. With an “unlimited” license (officer of the watch, any vessel, any ocean in the world), Mat is now a second officer with day-to-day responsibilities as the officer on the bridge. While he continues to work towards his goal of being a captain of a cruise ship, his first love is still Chautauqua Lake and the Chautauqua Belle.
For more information on days and times that the Chautauqua Belle will be paddling down the Chadakoin, please visit the company website at 269belle.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.