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Future of boat in St. Elmo up in the air

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Despite of vote of support on Thursday night, the future of The President in St. Elmo is up in the air.

The St. Elmo City Council voted 4-2 to continue the city's support of the boat project, but the vote came after project developer David Campbell said that he and project investors were ready to move The President to another community.

The issue was discussed at length during a special meeting that was moved from St. Elmo City Hall to the Phillips Building due to the size of the crowd. About 25 people were in the audience for the discussion, which at times became heated.

Voting to give continued support for the project were Lloyd Carson, Jayson Porter, Jaimee Blankenship and Theresa Riley. Dissenting votes were cast by Chris Worman and Mike McCall, both of whom began serving as aldermen on Monday.

The discussion on the issue became heated at times, as McCall continued to challenge financial projections presented by Campbell.

Several of those speaking, including Blankenship, Porter and Kathy Miller, said they are "embarassed" about the treatment being given to someone interested in bringing a new business and jobs to the community. All also said that if the city decided to drop its interest in the project, St. Elmo would have a hard time recruiting businesses in the future.

Campbell said he will meet with the seven St. Elmo families who are investors in the project this weekend, and that they will decide whether to keep The President in St. Elmo or move to another town.

Effingham is among the communities who have expressed an interest in the vote.

For the complete story, see next week's issue of The Leader-Union.