ELKHART COUNTY -

It was several years in the making, but a project to build a new observation tower at Ox Bow Park in Elkhart County is finally under way.

The original tower, built back in 1972, was an icon at the park until an arson fire destroyed it in the summer of 2010.

Those who remember the old tower are happy to see a new one finally going up.

Comapred to the old, wooden tower, the replacement will be 32 feet high, handicapped accessible and will be able to hold up to 316 people.

Every one from park staff to park goers, and those wanting to donate to build it, helped with the design.

The park raised $136,000 to build it. Of that, $22,000 was raised by students and other groups.

For many of the regulars, the tower is a special part of the overall park experience.

"The tower was is just a fun place to go, you know, climb up to the top  and look out and we would always see families up there," says Sylvia Zakusilov who comes to the park regularly.

In addition to building the tower, money will also be used for a  parking lot and donations are still needed for other amentities