ELKHART — After several years of community fundraising, Elkhart County Parks is less than $5,700 away from rebuilding the Ox Bow Tower, which burned down in July 2010.
To meet the project goal of $130,500, Ox Bow County Park will host March for the Tower, a pledge event featuring a kid’s fun run and the choice of a 1- or 3-mile walk. The event will take place rain or shine at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 23, in the Fisherman’s Camp Shelter at Ox Bow County Park, 23427 C.R. 45, Elkhart. Registration starts at 1 p.m.
“The tower is a place with such happy memories for so many kids and families around Elkhart County that it was a real shame when it burned,” said Demarée Dufour-Noneman, former Elkhart resident.
In 2011, Mitchell Keith Birr of Elkhart was arrested in connection with the incident. He told detectives he accidentally burned the tower when he threw his cigarette on it, according to an Elkhart Truth report.
The redwood tower’s prominent role in the community is evident from the Facebook page Rebuild Ox Bow Park Tower, which has more than 5,500 likes. A recent status advertising the upcoming march has been shared more than 50 times.
The minimum pledge for the march is $10 per person. Those who collect more than $100 in pledges will be entered into a drawing to win a gift basket from Elkhart County Parks.
All proceeds from the day’s events are tax deductible and will go toward the tower fund. Money raised will match the final dollars of a $32,000 matching grant given by the Elkhart County Community Foundation last summer, according to a release.
Like his sister Demarée, Dylan Dufour has fond memories of his visits to Ox Bow County Park.
“I'm looking forward to visiting the new tower with my nieces,” he said. “Hopefully they'll be brave enough to scale the whole thing.”
For more information, to reserve space or to receive a pledge sheet visit www.elkhartcountyparks.org or www.2rrc.org or call 535-6458.