The cleanup and removal of the old Huck Finn barge in Lake Ozark could take the rest of the year.
The barge, which partially sank along the shoreline on property owned by Iguana near Thornsberry Road, has been the subject of discussions among officials and concern among neighbors for several months. Iguana Group officials said recently they plan to raise the rusting, decaying vessel soon, but Lake Ozark officials want some teeth in an agreement.
Mayor Johnnie Franzeskos announced at the regular board of aldermen meeting July 25 that City Attorney Chris Rohrer will create a document for board consideration.
Iguana General Manager David Paisley told the city in a July 19 letter that Iguana has collaborated with contractors and divers to develop a plan that is safe and the least likely to cause any major damage.
The proposal calls for pulling the barge ashore in early October, thus reducing the potential for any loose debris during the tourist season. It also allows Iguana a window of opportunity to remove its rental building and decking to widen the ramp at their potential headquarters location.
Once the barge is removed, Iguana will use a combination of third-party contractors and Iguana resources to dismantle and fully remove the vessel by April 2018 to ensure it's fully removed by next year's tourist season.
Iguana is contracting with a diver and contractor to remove all loose debris that may be an issue now and will do so again when the barge is removed.
Alderman Dennis Klautzer asked if divers were currently on-site, and an Iguana spokesman assured him and the board that it's a continual process.
According to the website lakehistory.info, developed by lake historian Mike Gillespie, the Huck Finn is believed to be the oldest boat on the lake at 81 years old -- long before the Lake of the Ozarks filled in the early 1930s.
Gillespie says in his website that in 1929 the barge was towed up the Osage River to the future site of Bagnell Dam. For nearly two years it was used as a utility vessel for construction equipment. As the dam began to take shape, the barge was intentionally left on the upstream side for whatever purposes it might serve.
In the mid-1930s the barge served as an equipment platform during construction of the Niangua and Hurricane Deck bridges and during World War II was used to raise scrap iron and steel left on the bottom of the lake. It eventually became a floating pier for the excursion boat the Tom Sawyer, and a second story was later added for Huckleberry's Restaurant.

Other business
• The board approved a resolution accepting a proposal from Lakewood Alarm for the purchase of a security and camera monitoring system for the street and utility department buildings. Board members received assurance that the security tapes would be stored in a safe location away from the buildings. Cost is$4,000.
• The board approved the appointment of Alderman Pat Thompson to the Planning and Zoning Board.