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Restoration Work Begins on Old Arnolds Park Roller Coaster

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ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa (AP) Mild fall weather has let workers begin the $250,000 restoration of the 85-year-old Legend Roller Coaster at Historic Arnolds Park amusement park in the northwest Iowa town of Arnolds Park.

Park officials have said the nearly 1,500-foot ride, built in 1927, is the 13th-oldest operating wooden roller coaster in the country.

The restoration work had been scheduled to start this coming spring, the Sioux City Journal reported.

"I'd rather work with a little snow, if need be, than the rains of spring," said park maintenance director Barry Kruse.

With guidance from engineers who specialize in wooden roller coasters, workers were replacing 575 feet of track and catwalks. They also are replacing steel supports added to reinforce old wood about 25 years ago.

"That steel didn't flex at all, which is what a wooden roller coaster is supposed to do," said the park's general manager, Scott Pyle.

The bumpy ride had to be addressed, Pyle said.

"The wooden bed in the lower area has become compressed over the years. It doesn't have the give that was part of the original design," he said.

Other work includes raising low points on the track and replacing several concrete footings below the peak.

The coaster is expected to be ready by opening day next year, said Pyle, who added that the project is the first of four planned for completion over the next several years.

"This is a major expense on the amusement park's top ride," he said. "It's possibly more than it cost to build the coaster in the late 1920s."

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