Madeline Island ferry line to get new ownership

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The Madeline Island ferry line is a critical link for the economic stability of Bayfield, Wisconsin and the Madeline Island communities.

The ferry line provides transportation between the picturesque towns of La Pointe and Bayfield and the ferry operations will soon be under new ownership.

The town of La Pointe’s harbor commission issued a letter of intent to purchase the ferry line all it’s assets for $17.3 million dollars.

Glenn Carlson is the La Pointe town board chair and he says federal and state authorities consider the ferry line to be similar to a highway. He says with the line under municipal ownership rather than private ownership, the purchase will allow access to State and Federal financing as well as provide for greater local decision-making.

Michael Childers is the Harbor Commission board president. He says it gives the town much more local control.

“It provides an opportunity to affect scheduling,” Childers said. “It gives the town an opportunity to expand so that school kids can do after school activities and still get home. It gives the town the chance to look for resources that a private business couldn’t look for, and to continue to improve the fleet and even potentially affect the price levels that the residents have to pay.”

The Harbor Commission will be meeting with financial consultants to construct a bond plan and they hope to close the purchase by the end of this year.