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Council grant for Alma

City of Melbourne has committed $300,000 towards the restoration of heritage sailing ship Alma Doepel.

$200,000 of the grant has already been paid to Sail and Adventure Limited, the not-for-profit organisation that owns the ship.

The remaining $100,000 is to be paid next year.

“The City of Melbourne will contribute $300,000 over three years to the restoration of the historic Alma Doepel, with a proposal for the ship to be docked at Central Pier, the centrepiece in the waterfront heritage precinct,” a City of Melbourne spokesperson said.

Restoration director Peter Harris said discussions with City of Melbourne about funding had been ongoing for the past year.

After a review of the organisation’s business, project and fundraising plans, City of Melbourne agreed to provide the funding.

Mr Harris said the funding would help pay for a submersible barge, which will be used to lift the ship out of the water to continue the restoration.

The barge is currently being constructed and, when completed, will be submerged and positioned underneath the Alma Doepel. Air will be pumped into twin submersible pontoons in order to raise the ship out of the water.

Mr Harris said he expected the barge to be ready in about six weeks.

The barge is being built with the intention of it having a secondary use after restoration work on the ship is completed.

“We’re building it to last for 20 years and City of Melbourne has expressed interest in purchasing the barge after we’ve finished using it,” Mr Harris said.

Suggested uses for the barge include an events stage or a soundstage.

Mr Harris said the barge could even be towed up the river to provide extra event space for festivals such as Moomba.

A committed team of volunteers is currently restoring the Alma Doepel at Shed 2.

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