Large Crowd Turns Out For Ribbon Cutting & Dedication Of State Pier

Sat 9-5-2020

(Arnolds Park)-- A large crowd was on hand for today's (Saturday's) ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly renovated state pier at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park waterfront. 

The iconic attraction was also officially dedicated in the honor of the late Berkley Bedell, who played an integral role in the Save The Park campaign. Tom Bedell referred to his father's spearheading of that effort which raised more than seven million dollars in literally just days...State Pier Dedication01 

"The investment that's gone in here which is multiples of that seven million dollars would just reaffirm to him that you start with a dream, you live it and you grow another dream, you live it and you grow another dream and this is where we are. It's fantastic."

Bedell says it's proof as to just how close knit the Iowa Great Lakes community is, adding his dad would be extremely proud to see what's happened since...State Pier Dedication02 

"It's not a conflict in any way among different people or their points of view or their religion or who cares. It's our community. And I think today is an incredible example of how everybody has really come together. You mentioned dad's fishing company. That turned into the world's largest fishing tackle company with divisions all around the world. It was headquartered in Spirit Lake, Iowa and the talent that dad and I later were able to recruit made it the best fishing tackle company in the world right here, and that's because of the quality of people, the dedication the people have, the support of the community. It's a wonderful story."

The renovation of the State Pier was one of many projects made possible by Imagine Iowa Great Lakes. John Frankin serves as President of Board for the group, which also made the promenade project in Arnolds Park possible along with the improvements to Claire Wilson park at the grade. The group is now working on the East Lake Park across from Kum 'n Go in Okoboji which will feature a unique play structure...State Pier Dedication03 

"As a matter of fact the mini queen should be arriving next week, I believe on the 9th, I think, and so that will be a replica of The Queen, it will be a playground. We're just trying to kind of spread the love a little bit if you will. So that's an Okoboji project. And then we're also we're currently in bids, there's going to be a new trail head that will be in Spirit Lake, that will be just east of the Hy-Vee where the old diner used to be. We have acquired that property and so the plans have all been done and we're just going through the bidding process of that. So the key is we're working hand-in-hand with the trails."

Frankin says they will be hitting the pause button a bit on any projects beyond that...State Pier Dedication04 

"But our donor group has asked us to take a pause. They've committed all the finances for the projects that we've committed to, but to take a pause for COVID because they would like to focus their attention on helping people, feed people, and so we will just wait until the donor group says we can go ahead and start planning and then we'll work on other projects. But the focus is really everything from Milford all the way up to Spirit Lake."

Frankin says depending on how prices come in, they're planning to start on the trail head project in Spirit Lake yet this fall.