MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Montgomery County’s Fair Access Committee held a meeting in Poolesville tonight to discuss the future of White’s Ferry.
During the meeting the ferry’s new owner, Chuck Kuhn spoke to the public for the first time.
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"I want to make a commitment to myself and everybody in this room, the ferry will run again," Kuhn said.
The White’s Ferry shut down in late December after a judge found it was trespassing on private property near the Virginia shoreline due to a previous agreement with the owners expiring over a decade ago.
"We couldn’t keep up with their demands. We couldn’t afford to run it with their demands. It’s devastating and we just want it back open. It’s my father’s legacy and we just want it running again," Herbert Brown, whose family owned the ferry for 75 years told FOX 5.
White’s Ferry transported more than 800 vehicles and people a day between Montgomery County, Md., and Loudoun County, Va. Its closure upped that commute from 15 minutes to close to an hour.
The ferry has been in operation since 1782 and is the last cable line ferry on the Potomac.
"White’s Ferry is a living history example of what used to be on the Potomac River," Link Hoewing, Chair of the Fair Access Committee said.
Kuhn says they’re asking the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to grant eminent domain after private negotiations with the property owners stalled.
Eminent domain allows public use of private properties with compensation.
Kuhn says right now a comprehensive study is being done on legal and regulatory requirements and will be presented to the county within the next few months.
"The study is underway. It’s going very well and this matter will soon be in front of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. The real fate of this ferry is going to lie In the hands of the Loudoun County Board Of Supervisors," Kuhn said.
Caleb Kershner, a district supervisor with Loudoun County says if all goes well the board could vote on the matter as soon as December.
"The moment we get control of that Virginia shoreline, we got a cable that’s standing by on the ferry property. It’s going to take us a matter of hours to get the cable reconnected and we will get the ferry moving," Kuhn said.
The Fair Access Committee says since the ferry closed businesses and tourism in Poolesville are suffering. They spoke about plans to find new ways to showcase the ferry’s history once it reopens, through exhibits and possibly a museum.