Arnold's Park announces $12 million renovation

Arnold's Park announces $12 million renovation

Arnold's Park Amusement Park has been a staple in the Lake Okoboji area for nearly 130 years.

"Arnold's Park continues to be the heart of Okoboji," Jill Harms, the President of Arnold's Park's Board of Directors, said.

And for the past few years, has seen more people come through its doors and enjoy its attractions.

"So we have the foundation," Harms said, "and we want to take what we have today, make it sustainable for the future, most importantly, functional for the future, but we want to preserve our heritage."

Which is why the Arnold's Park Board of Directors announced a $12 million renovation of the historic amusement park, to bring it back to what it used to look like in its hay day.

The three phase project includes adding brand new bathrooms, renovating the Maritime Museum and the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and adding a lake front board walk.

Now the first part of the project has already begun with a parking lot, and that started in the Fall of 2016. But just down the road, down the road from where I am here, is what people of Arnold's Park are most excited about.

"Oh I think, head and shoulders above everything else, it'll be the roof garden," said Charley Whittenburg, CEO of Arnold's Park Amusement Park.

He is talking about a facility that was essentially condemned back in the 1980's, after serving as a popular destination for rock and roll groups and big swing bands.

"It's such an impactful exterior and interior that it will set the tone for other things in the future that'll happen inside the amusement park," Whittenburg said.

Well as part of this major project, the Roof Garden is making a return.

"After all these years," said Whittenburg, "we're replicating something near and dear to everyone's hearts."

And improving everything to go with it.

Other than anonymous donors pitching in $6 million, the board has raised about $2 million and is in need of more donations.

The Roof Garden is phase three of this project, and construction for that won't begin until the fall of 2018.

Larry and Diana, the entire renovation project is expected to be finished by around mid-August of 2019.

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