Georgetown Heritage Sets $9-million Goal to Save C&O Canal, Replace Boat

Due to cuts in the National Park Service budget, the C&O Canal National Park was unable to afford repairs for the mule-pulled barge that once took visitors along the canal. The canal’s walls, locks and towpath are also in need of constant upkeep.

“Our first-phase goal is $9 million,” said Georgetown Business Improvement District CEO Joe Sternlieb, who is part of the founding board of Georgetown Heritage, along with Richard Levy of the Levy Group, Jim Lee of Manhattan Construction and John Asadoorian and Wright Sigmund of the BID’s board of directors.

Staffing and overhead for the new nonprofit will be taken on by the Georgetown BID, Sternlieb said. “Administrative costs will go to the BID,” he said. “100 percent [of money raised] will go to getting a new boat.”

“Lock 4 is in imminent danger of failing,” Sternlieb said. Replacement and repair of the lock will cost $5 million, he said. A new canal boat and canal educational programs will cost more than $1 million. Another hoped-for improvement: a dock for canoes near the mule bridge at 34th Street.

Designated a friend of the NPS, Georgetown Heritage will work on long-term solutions for the canal. Its website is

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