Only one company wants to operate amphibious vehicles on the Schuylkill River and that's Ride the Ducks.
Still, city officials stressed yesterday that a contract for the company with boats full of kazoo-playing tourists is not a done deal.
"The city is not definitely going to award a contract," said Brian Abernathy, chief of staff to Managing Director Rich Negrin.
Back in October, the city announced that Ride the Ducks would be moving to the Schuylkill in March. The boats, which previously toured the Delaware River, have not been in operation since a July 7 accident in which two tourists were killed.
Not long after that announcement, the city said it was legally required to permit a competitive bidding process. But final bids to operate on the Schuylkill were due Wednesday and Ride the Ducks was the only applicant, said Abernathy.
The prospect of moving the boats to the Schuylkill has met with substantial opposition in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Abernathy stressed that nothing was definite. He said a committee with representatives from several city departments, including parks and recreation, commerce and planning, would now review the bid.
"That selection committee will review the bid and will decide whether it's appropriate to award or not," Abernathy said, adding that a decision was likely to come by mid-January.
On July 7, a duck boat with 37 people on board was hit by a city-owned sludge barge being pushed by a tugboat operated by a private contractor. The duck boat capsized, and two Hungarian tourists were killed.