The Board of Directors of Historic Arnolds Park Inc. (HAPI) announced plans for a major renovation to the facilities of the 128-year-old operation. Plans include an expansion of the Maritime Museum, new parking, completion of the restoration of The Majestic Pavilion, a new Roof Garden, a new bathroom inside the amusement park, a lake front pedestrian commons area, updated infrastructure throughout the property and many more improvements.
An anonymous group of donors have come forward and pledged a matching grant of up to $6 million dollars for the renovation project. A capital fund raising project called “Restore the Park” has been slated to begin July 1st. CEO Charley Whittenburg stated, “All members of both HAPI and The Park Foundation Boards have made financial commitments to the project. This 100% commitment from the Boards has paved the way for the upcoming fundraiser.” A committee composed of current and former board members has been established to spearhead the fund-raising project to accomplish the $12 million-dollar goal. The group has already begun making calls and has about $2 million of the $6 million matching funds raised.
Phase I of the project began late last fall with The Arnolds Park Foundation supplying the funds for planning and infrastructure such as updated electric, sewer and fiber optic lines to prepare the property for the upcoming improvements. Also in phase I is additional parking located on Highway 71 and new restrooms inside the amusement park. Preparation work for the parking lot has been started with the demolition of some housing and retail space. New bathrooms are in the process of being built and are slated to be operational by the beginning of the season.
Phase II of the project is slated to begin in the Fall of 2017 with the expansion of The Maritime Museum, completion of The Majestic Pavilion, a renovation of The Preservation Plaza Stage and the addition of fiber optic lines throughout the park for ride operations. The Maritime Museum expansion will include a significant increase in the size of the facility and will provide a new home for The Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as green room facilities for guest bands and offices for the Okoboji Foundation, Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce and Okoboji Tourism. The completion of the Majestic Pavilion will also include new flooring and new administration facilities.
Phase III of the project will consist of the building of a new Roof Garden. The new facility will have the look and feel of the original Roof Garden with updated amenities to make it a much more functional space. Whittenburg stated at the press conference held that “Our larger efforts with the new fundraising campaign are to see the restoration of the Roof Garden both inside and out, the restoration of The Majestic Pavilion and expansion of our Maritime Museum. In addition, there will be many things upgraded to bring us into the 21st century and poise us for sustainability for future generations. The park is the epi-center of our community and remains the heart of Okoboji. It is the iconic crown jewel of Iowa.”