(Arnolds Park)– Members of a group involved in a multi-million dollar beautification of the lakes corridor say the project is taking on a whole new concept now that they’ve entered into an agreement with the Okoboji Community School District to purchase the middle school property at the corner of West Broadway and Highway 71 in Arnolds Park. The Okoboji School Board voted 3 to 2 at a special meeting last week to approve the $1.1 million purchase agreement.

Terry McClure of McClure Engineering is a spokesman for Imagine Iowa Great Lakes. He says they’re very excited over the new possibilities that will make available for them…

“Well as you know when we started our program this wasn’t even considered as part of our beautification effort and as things have evolved with the school it gave the Imagine group an opportunity to acquire a pretty prominent corner and piece of property that ties into the park and Highway 71 and everything else that we’re kind of doing, so adding this to the project creates an opportunity for our design team to look at other ways we can build and enhance on this beautification effort that we’re doing.”

McClure says their exact plans for the middle school site haven’t been developed just yet. A news released issued by Imagine Iowa Great Lakes says that may happen by the end of the year…

“We’ve spent no time looking at what concepts might be available and what kind of ideas we might have on that piece. We just found out about this a couple of weeks ago and so probably as we get through the work we’re focused on now which is really with around the park area, maybe later this year we’ll have an opportunity to look at the school property and come up with some ideas that might fly and tie into the whole West Broadway concept down into the entertainment district all the way down to Arnolds Park.”

McClure adds it’s likely those plans will not include the buildings on the current middle school site…

“I really can’t speculate although it’s probably safe to say the school will probably not be there. Beyond that I’m not even sure what all property is included in this purchase, and so as we get further into this in a few months we’ll probably flush that out and then start looking at what opportunities there might be given with whatever property is included.”

The initial phase of the beautification project is focused on the waterfront, promenade and Lake Street in Arnolds Park. Work on that part of the project is expected to get underway in the fall.