SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY (CBS13) — The owner of a 300-foot cruise ship docked in San Joaquin County wants to turn it into a wedding venue.
The plan would be to refurbish and haul the MV Aurora to the small town of Isleton. But some people there are trying to stop that idea in its tracks.
A town hall about this proposal was held Wednesday night. The problem boils down in part to logistics. Some people question whether this small town of just several hundred people has the infrastructure to accommodate the kind of business this could bring.
Chris Wilson said he bought the Aurora off Craigslist to preserve history. He also thinks he could turn the German-made cruise ship into the economic draw Isleton needs.
“In Isleton, it will change their entire economy. In San Francisco, it’s just another bleep on the map,” Wilson said.
There are still several hundred thousand dollars worth of renovations that need to be done before the ship can become a destination.
“We need to stop it right now because the city will be open to tremendous liability,” said Carol Green, an Isleton Resident.
The ship would be docked in Isleton’s public marina. Wilson laid out his plan like this: the ship would have a large dining room and lounge that could support hundreds of people. He said work has already started on that. He expects to spend millions of dollars in the long run, possibly building a theater and Airbnb rooms.
“We’ve got investors for almost every stage of that plan,” Wilson said.
The Isleton city manager said the council is looking into whether current infrastructure could support such a business.
“We have no business to speak of, no tax base, no manufacturing that could help us generate that kind of money,” Green said.
Some in Isleton also worry about losing their waterfront view. Wilson hopes to convince them his project is worth it.
“People are going to have to believe in what I’m doing and believe in the ship and move forward with me,” Wilson said.