Owners of Fire-Damaged Jellystone Park Eye Rebuilding
The owners of the Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park near Austin, Minn., are working hard on replacing the 8,000-square-foot lodge that was totaled by fire on Oct. 9.
The building housed the main offices, dining room, kitchen, multi-purpose room, shower house and restrooms, laundry room, janitorial room, electrical room, game room and teen room. Heat from the fire also cracked the concrete in a nearby toddler pool.
"We will rebuild, we will recover," Tammy Westrich told Woodall's Campground Management. She and her husband, Ken, and her parents, Don and Laura Tolner, own the park.
The owners are going over paperwork with contractors now and hope to begin building soon. The new building will be ready when the park opens the 2012 season on April 15, she said.
The 320-site park is the only Jellystone Park in Minnesota and had recorded "a fantastic season" this year, until the fire broke out, Westrich reported. The park had added new water slides and, ironically, improvements had just been made to the lodge before the fire broke out, Westrich noted.
As a result of the fire, for safety reasons, the 2011 season came to a premature end.
Westrich was pleased to report that the large statue of Yogi Bear that stood close to the fire scene was not damaged by the flames. She said Yogi is "standing tall" and remains a symbol of the family's resolve to move forward and rebuild.
Westrich and her mother plan to attend the Leisure Systems Inc. Symposium next week in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio. Their husbands will stay home and attend to the rebuilding effort, she said.
The current owners bought the park in 2007 and subsequently affiliated with Leisure Systems. They undertook many improvements to the park and brought it to a new level. They were chosen New Business of the Year in 2010 by the Austin Chamber of Commerce.