Your help (and money) appreciated in effort to sustain Arnolds Park

Your help (and money) appreciated in effort to sustain Arnolds Park

Post by Greg V. » Sat, 14 Aug 2004 09:16:06

I know that a number of us have been following the operations of
Arnolds Park after it was saved from being coverted into ***iniums
several years ago.  While the park is operating in the black this
year, it appears that the banks who participated in the "purchase" of
the park are willing to write down the interest of the loan 2% if
$90,000 is paid by the end of the year.  Nearly 1/3 of this amount has
been raised already.  Since the Museum is a tax-empt organization,
your donation may be tax-deductible (check with your tax advisor if
you use one).  This opportunity can be another way for enthusiasts to
assist in the continuation of a "classic" amu***t park.  Here, for
your reading pleasure, is an article on the current drive.

Greg VG

Argus Leader
(c) Copyright 2004, Argus Leader. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Sioux Empire; B

OKOBOJI, Iowa

Russ Oechslin
*** OK

Banks offer to help sustain park Some working to raise money,
awareness to maintain Arnolds Park

BY RUSS OECHSLIN

For the Argus Leader

The Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum, which also operates the Arnolds
Park Amu***t Park and the Queen II excursion boat, will take
advantage of an offer from its lenders to save thousands of dollars in
interest on its loans.

The three area banks that hold $1,558,000 in loans have offered the
organization a 2 percent discount on loan interest, effective Aug. 1,
if it can make a $90,000 interest payment before the end of the year.

One of the bankers involved, John Goodenow, who does not serve on the
museum board but is working to raise the money, explained the process
to nearly 200 people who attended the museum's annual meeting on
Sunday.

"It's going to take a lot of arm-twisting," Goodenow said. "But we're
already about a third of the way there and think we can make the
payment well ahead of the deadline. If we're going to write the final
chapter here, and put a happy ending on it, we really need to raise
the full amount of the debt. . And I'd love to have another
half-million for an endowment."

Goodenow is working with Sue Richter and former Iowa congressman
Berkley Bedell to sustain the century-old park on West Lake Okoboji.

"We've already saved it," Goodenow said. "Now we have to sustain it
and ensure that it will never be mortgaged again."

Richter, whose family operates The Three Sons clothing store in
Milford, Iowa, said Sunday she was wearing her "Sustain the Park" pin
earlier in the day at the store when two Minnesota women stopped her
to find out about it.

After listening to her explanation, Richter said, each woman wrote her
a check.

Like Goodenow, neither Bedell nor Richter is a board member. Bedell
and Richter were part of the "Save the Park" efforts in 1999 when more
than $7 million was raised to cover the purchase price of the park
after a South Dakota developer announced plans to build ***iniums
on the site.

Less than $500,000 of that $7 million remains unpaid, Goodenow said.
But the park has been paying interest of about $119,000 a year on what
Goodenow calls "acquisition debt."

"And it's not reasonable to expect that principal and interest to be
covered by operating income," he said.

As of July 31, park operations are in the black for the 2004 season.
Net operating income has risen to nearly $300,000, compared with
$98,043 for the same period last year, according to executive director
Jim Frost.

The park's membership re-elected three board members: Rick Johnson of
Arnolds Park and Al Maser and Joe Vander Laan, both of Spirit Lake,
Iowa. The board now numbers nine, decreased from 11 for the past year
and 28 in previous years.

That reduction is in accordance with bylaws adopted last year when
Johnson and Maser were elected and Vander Laan was appointed to
represent the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

The museum board also announced personnel changes on Sunday. Executive
director Jim Frost will become assistant chairman with
responsibilities for marketing, long-range planning and fund raising.

Frost will report to the board along with Scott Pyle, who will be the
new general manager and responsible for day-to-day operations. Pyle
has been in charge of the amu***t park operations.