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American Obstacle Eyes Expansion

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

Three years ago, the husband and wife team of Ex-Marines Kurt and Lisa Clough first opened up the only outdoor obstacle and ziplining adventure park in South Central Illinois. They called it, "American Obstacle", and it was a dream several years in the making. Today, it has sent thousands of people from around the world, including guests from as far away as Japan and Africa, through the trees surrounding Old Lake Kinmundy. It's been such a success that the Clough's are ready to make the next big step: expanding the park with the intention of making it not merely an attraction, but a destination.

To do so, the Clough's asked the Kinmundy City Council for an expansion on the lake property they had leased three years ago. The council gave preliminary approval to move the lease expansion forward in a special session on August 22nd. This means that the Clough's will have room to add several new features to the park.

"We're trying to meet all of our customers needs, and a lot of them want a reception hall where they could have a company party or a reunion--and then everyone always wants to find somewhere to eat, so we thought we would put a real unique restaurant in." Kurt said.

In addition to the proposed restaurant and reception hall, the Clough's also want to make use of the expanded space to put in storefronts that could be leased by business owners that would be open year round, as well as expanding their ziplining attractions to include a zipline that would take people flying across the lake.

The Clough's claim the expansion would bring in hundreds of jobs to the area, including an estimated 88 full-time positions. They presented their information and made their arguments during a special informational meeting held at Kinmundy City Hall, where citizens that both supported the new lease and those that opposed it gathered together to debate the particulars of the expansion. There were times emotions ran high, with some citizens protesting the loss of land they've been fishing on since they were kids.

But many citizens came out in favor of the Clough's expansion, including Kinmundy Resident Shirley Miller.

"Ever since the Illinois Central Railroad gave us that property, it's just sat there. I hate to see change as much as anyone else my age does, but if we're going to improve, we have to grow." Miller said.

The meeting concluded with most people satisfied and in support of the expansion. Terms of the lease will be discussed in future council sessions.

To see WJBD's Rob Sussman fly through the American Obstacle Zipline course, CLICK HERE.

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