ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa – Arnolds Park amusement park just keeps getting better.
A new stage for outdoor concerts will be built at Preservation Plaza, along with a permanent food stand and restrooms.
Paul Plumb, marketing director for the historic amusement park, said these were “huge improvements” made possible by a donor. The $10 million project is expected to be completed in late June or early July.
“With the upgrade there, we’re hoping to attract bigger acts who want to play here. Since we’ve rotated the stage a bit, we’ll be able to accommodate more guests,” said Plumb, who estimates the venue can accommodate around 6,000 people, an increase of about 2,000.
Arnolds Park amusement park offers a free show every Saturday night during the summer. According to Plumb, concert-goers can park their deckchairs in front of the stage, which features a wavy roof and local stones, and sit back and enjoy the music. He said some shows that require tickets are also scheduled throughout the season.
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“They wanted to recreate the waves of the lake along with the curves of the roller coaster in the park. It was kind of a thought to tie that into the whole area,” he said of the stage’s unique roof.
A complete makeover of Lake Street, a separate project from the stage, is expected to be completed before the park opens for the May season.
According to Plumb, the improvements were spearheaded by Imagine Iowa Great Lakes and include traditional brick pavers and all-new underground water and sewage infrastructure. He said artificial turf will be placed by a collection of interactive musical instruments in Harmony Park, which is in the Queen’s Court area.
Visitors will also notice new seating; decorative lighting, including fairy lights; and colorful landscaping.
Imagine Iowa Great Lakes being operated by community members from the Okoboji area in cooperation with local and regional contractors, city officials and state agencies. Other current projects by Imagine Iowa Great Lakes include the Boardwalk, one of the busiest hiking trails in Iowa’s Great Lakes. The boardwalk features native Iowa plants and trees and nine luminous arches that light up the night sky. The lights in the arches can dim, brighten, and change color.
The boardwalk connects to two other Imagine Iowa Great Lakes projects – a pedestrian boardwalk and the Berkley Bedell State Pier.
Made from Kebony, a sustainable wood product, the boardwalk stretches from Zephyr Street to the beach.
The pier has a 5,500 square foot pedestrian walkway with a large fountain and reflecting pool with three stainless steel sail sculptures.
“We are just very grateful to them. They’ve done so much here at the park, and not just here at the park, but around the area,” Plumb said of Imagine Iowa Great Lakes. “Things change quickly with their input.”