Arnolds Park ending season in the black

Monday, September 20, 2004

After years of financial struggle, the Arnolds Park Amusement Park is ending the 2004 operating season in the black, according to reports made at the recent monthly meeting of the Maritime Museum Board.

Lisa Cihlar, who handles the amusement park's finances, said the attraction has had a good year and reported an operating income of $95,800. She pointed out that operating expenses were down $258,000 through August.

"We've accomplished our goal of last fall to lower expenses and raise revenues," said Cihlar. "Our operating income was down a little bit, but we're still $211,000 better than we were a year ago."

Vice Chairman Bob Schneider pointed out that operating income was approximately $47,000 down for the year, but this was still a very successful season considering the weather woes.

"That was on top of the third coldest July and the coldest August in Iowa history since the 1870s," said Schneider.

Treasurer Fred Dowden pointed out another financial landmark.

"We've paid off our ($500,000) operating loan in full," said Dowden. "Last year at this time, we had $450,000 hanging over our heads."

The board is now focusing on repayment of the $1.8 million debt and park improvements for 2005.

"We're very excited about a couple major donors that we're talking with," said Schneider. "We're all very, very optimistic about our chances, by December 2005, to put this (long term debt) to sleep."

The chairs of each committee brought out their wish lists for improvements to the amusement park, Queen II, museum and other park properties. Board members prioritized maintenance repairs and authorized park staff to go ahead with necessary work.

Agenda items for October include a name change for the board, beginning stages of the 2005 budget process and preliminary review of the park's business plan.

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