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July 1, 1999

Nonprofit Group Hopes It Can Save Arnold's Park

Iowa Great Lakes, IA -- The non-profit Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum has announced that it hopes to save historic Arnold's Park from demolition, by raising $5.5-million through a fund-raising drive.

The museum's Board of Directors announced that Don Dunham, the purchaser of the land and the park, has recognized the tremendous value of this property and the sentimental value of the amusement park and has agreed to sell the 21-acre parcel for $5.5-million.

In addition to the potential land purchase, Chuck Long the current owner of Arnold's Park has agreed to donate all of the amusement park rides and buildings to the museum. Long has stated that he hopes that the park can be saved.

Long purchased the amusement park in 1987, and has since made several million dollars worth of capital improvements. His investment has improved the rides and park's overall appearance.

The press release from the museum states that it would accept the donation of the rides from the Long family and Don Dunham's offer to purchase the land, subject to raising the necessary funds.

In order to save Arnold's Park, the Maritime Museum has to complete an enormous task of raising $5.5 million by an August 1 deadline. The museum is hoping it can achieve this task and is challenging the community to make the dream become a reality.

So far the Maritime Museum was pleased to announce that they had received two challenge grants of $500,000 each from two anonymous foundations. The challenge grants challenge the organization to raise the $4.5 million to complete the project.

In addition the Maritime Museum announced that it has received a challenge donation from a private individual and his family for $200,000. This individual wishes to remain anonymous, but stated that the donation is in recognition of their families enjoyment of the lake and amusement park for six generations.

Local residents and supporters of the park are also working with the Maritime Museum to convenience the State of Iowa to make a financial commitment to the project.

Should the museum raise the necessary funds, it hopes to preserve the public's access to Lake West Okoboji through the amusement park, and to preserve the historic amusement park so long as the public so desires as a living museum to the Iowa Great Lakes Area.

The Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum has met its portion of the challenge by accepting ownership and responsibility for this treasure, and for the tremendous burden of operating it for the public good. Now it is up to the public to come through and help raise the necessary funds.

Help Save Arnold's Park

You to can help save Arnold's Park for future generations. If you are interested or know of someone who may be potentially interested in donating to help save the park, you can contact the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum by calling 888-OKOBOJI (656-2654) or 712-332-5264. You may also visit the Save Arnold's Park web site http://save.okoboji.com/. For your convenience donations can be made online.

Related Stories:
Historic Arnold's Park May Be Demolished For New Development July 1, 1999