'Legend' construction begins second phase

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Phase II work is well underway on the Legend at Arnolds Park Amusement Park. Changes to the ride will decrease bumps, increase speed and extend the attraction's life near West Lake Okoboji.

The Legend roller coaster is a cranky old dame.

So, think of ongoing construction as the thrill-ride version of a hip replacement.

Arnolds Park Amusement Park general manager Scott Pyle says demolition is nearly done and concrete work is about to begin as renovations continue on the historic wooden attraction.

"If people haven't been down by the park -- you should go," he said. "It's literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Arnolds Park without the majestic roller coaster standing there. It's a sight to behold. It's awful strange and a little bit forlorn to not see it there."

Pyle expects work to continue into the winter as concrete footings are added. Tracks and catwalks will be

replaced.

"If Mother Nature shuts us down, we'll have to pick it up in the spring," Pyle said. "But it will be completed before the season opens."

The summer's park guests already noticed a smoother ride after the first phase of construction was completed last spring. Park staffers began taking the Legend apart at the end of the traditional vacation season -- about 700 feet of the track and structure are gone.

The Great Coasters International company will return to northwest Iowa to complete the project.

"It's not just putting up a track," Pyle explained. "You've got to have the right amount of drop and the right amount of rise for the cars to make it all the way around the track -- and to do it in a safe and timely manner. It's definitely something that takes a specialist."

Total cost of the project is estimated at $500,000. It would be harder to calculate the park's loss if it's most well-known landmark fell into disrepair.

"The Legend is obviously the number one attraction at the amusement park -- it has been since the beginning," Pyle said. "The other thing is, the Legend has a long history not just here, but throughout the country. It's one of the oldest standing wooden roller coasters in the country. We want to maintain that legacy and make sure it's here for our kids and their kids to enjoy."

Di Lorenzen, Marketing & Communications Manager knows visitors will be excited to experience the new Legend.

"With the rest of the renovation completed by spring, she will thrill our guests with an unforgettable ride for another 100 years," Lorenzen said.

The roller coaster technicians also plan to restore what Pyle describes as a "bunny hop" near the Snack Shack at the amusement park.

"There will be an extra dip in the coaster and they're going to makes some changes to the west curve that will make it a little more exciting and better for the roller coaster in the long term," he said.

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