It's no way to come off of a holiday weekend.
The Buffalo Bayou Partnership got to the office Tuesday morning to find that the pontoon boat the non-profit uses to give tours of Buffalo Bayou had been deliberately set ablaze, destroying the boat and damaging the vessel next to it. Director of Public Relations and Events Trudi Smith says those at the office spent the day running around, calling insurance companies and investigating repair costs.
The Bio Vac — a vessel which sucks up trash in the bayou — was tied up next to the pontoon boat. It is salvageable, but in need of repairs.
If that weren't bad enough, last night three of the Partnership's boats (all but the Bio Vac) were cut loose by vandals and allowed to drift into Buffalo Bayou. A neighbor says he witnessed the incident, and identified the vandals as two young boys.
All of the boats are now back at the Partnership, although it's unclear whether the incidents are related or whether significant additional damage occurred to the boats.
Smith estimates the cost of replacement and repairs at tens of thousands of dollars. The pontoon boat alone costs between $50,000 and $60,000, and the Bio Vac had been custom-designed by board member Mike Garver. The enormous repair costs do not include the income the organization is losing while it is unable to give tours.
"Being a nonprofit, this is one of the ways we're able to raise funds and reach out to the community," Smith told CultureMap. "We're totally at a standstill and have to start over — but we'll have a boat as soon as we can."
If you'd like to help replace the damaged boats and equipment, checks can be made out to Buffalo Bayou Partnership and mailed to 1113 Vine Street, Ste. 200 77002. Additional support information can be found at buffalobayou.org.
Alternatively, if you have any information about either incident or would like to get information about donating a boat, call 713-752-0314 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.