Potential Buyer Eyes Unused Ferry
13 November 2013
By Mary Pickels, Staff Reporter
Mary Pickels 724-836-5401
The landmark Fredericktown Ferry, which carried passengers and
vehicles across the Monongahela River between Fayette and
Washington counties for 200 years, could be sold next week.
Fayette County commissioners on Tuesday agreed to place on their
agenda for next week a proposal from Blank River Services Inc. of
Elizabeth to purchase the cable-driven ferry for $20,000.
The company's website lists it as a “repair and fabrication
Commissioner Al Ambrosini said he doesn't know the company's plans
for the ferry. A message left for owner Richard Blank was not
The sale of the ferry could mean a savings of about $150,000 in
annual costs to operate it, Ambrosini said. Fayette owns the ferry
and for decades shared operating costs with Washington County.
The ferry service — it cost 50 cents for passengers, $2 per car
and a bit more for trucks — was discontinued at the end of August
because daily ridership fell from about 250 to 90 when the
Mon-Fayette Expressway bridge opened.
In May, Fayette commissioners decided to dock the ferry because of
the drop in revenue.
A township in Washington County had asked Fayette to hand over the
ferry so it could be preserved for history. East Bethlehem
officials wanted to move the ferry onto a riverbank to be used as
a historical attraction.
Paul Battaglini, president of East Bethlehem's board of
commissioners, said the ferry could become part of an existing
park in Fredericktown, where it would attract more visitors to the
community's popular annual river festival.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-836-5401.