Letter to the Editor

Remembering Fred Dowden

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Sadly, I just read the notice of Fred Dowden's passing in the Dickinson County News.

As with other relatively recent deaths in the Lakes Area, it brought back for me those memorable days of 2003-04 when Fred and a tremendous board of concerned folks came together to give me direction as we began the Herculean effort of putting Arnolds Park Amusement Park (now HAPI) back on solid ground.

We started with millions of dollars of debt, fractured community support, disheartened (former) board and staff members, suspect physical plant and lots of criticism. But we sat down for long meetings in the Hedberg Room at the park and hammered out a plan. It was implemented the summer of 2004 with success that continues today.

In addition to board members, many other area persons gave of their time and treasure; all should be recognized. But for now, please acknowledge with me the fine folks who served on that first reorganized board of directors: Mardi Allen, Jim Jensen, Rick Johnson, Al Maser, Mike McDonough, Jeff Thee, Joe Vander Laan, Dennis Ward, and deceased members Fred Dowden, Ralph "Boober" Schneider and Mike Zenor.

Each of them played a vital role but Fred, with his vast knowledge of all things "Lakes," his spot-on business acumen and his eternal optimism all were irreplaceable.

Thanks to you, Fred, and to all of you.

Best wishes to HAPI and the entire community in 2021 and beyond.

Jim Frost

Wabasha, Minnesota