Observatory tower at Ox Bow Park to be rebuilt after fundraising - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Observatory tower at Ox Bow Park to be rebuilt after fundraising effort

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Elkhart County parks says enough money has been raised to rebuild the observatory tower at Ox Bow Park.

The tower burned down in 2010 in an act of vandalism. Elkhart County Parks says it wasn't covered by insurance because the tower was considered a "non-essential" item. Elkhart County Parks agreed the tower could be rebuilt if funds were raised by the community. 

"We've had anything from little 4-H clubs with school children donating 50 cents, up to larger foundations giving us thousands of dollars," says Ronda DeCaire with Elkhart County Parks. After four years of fundraising, enough money has been raised. DeCaire says almost $135,000 has been raised.

DeCaire says ground will be broken on the new tower some time this summer. Ancon Construction was awarded the bid at $120,000. The new tower will be mostly steel, versus wood, like the original built in 1972. The tower will also be ADA accessible on the first level.  "The new tower will have wider platforms than the old tower. So that will allow it to be multi-use. We can have classrooms and programs on the tower," says DeCaire.

Money is still being raised for some extra amenities, like signs showing the history of the park and tower. This Friday there will be a Movie in the Park at Ox Bow Park. Organizers encourage folks to bring lawn chairs and blankets to the upper field for a 7 p.m. show. It's $5 for a carload. All proceeds of the event will go towards amenities for the new tower.
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