Bella Vista WV Proud

062718WV Bella Vista Proud

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Uniquely Bella Vista 4C F Wednesday, June 27, 2018 The Weekly Vista 2846 Bella Vista Way, Bella Vista (479) 855-4755 Serving the Bella Vista Area Since 1995 • Estate and Personal Planning • Trusts & Wills • Elder Law • Probate • Guardianships & Adoptions • Trust Disputes & Fiduciary Litigation • Medicaid & Veterans Benefi ts • Business Organization • Corporations • Contracts • Real Estate • Mediation Lisa A. Reeves Advantage Estate Planning Attorney at Law (479) 855-5600 www.brookfi 3 Highlands Crossing Dr Bella Vista, AR We treat residents and staff with the respect they deserve • Individualized care plan • Nurturing family atmosphere • Safe and secure environment Welcome to a place where peace of mind thrives... Our residents are our highest priority Wednesday through Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm Admission is free Bella Vista Historical Museum 1885 Bella Vista Way • Bella Vista, Arkansas 72714 Corner of Highway 71 and Kingsland 479-855-2335 Open Year Around! Bella Vista's own Wonderland Lynn Atkins Jan Edwards knows that building a dream takes time and so far it's been six years since a business plan was developed for the Wonderland Cave Adven - ture Park. The plan is still in place, but finding the right investors has been a challenge, she said. "We have some great stuff going on now," she said. She believes she has found the investor she's looking for but it's too early to make an announce - ment, she said. It started to come to- gether just as she was giv- ing up, Edwards said. She moved to this area in 2012, hoping to find local inves- tors but in spite of some success with the Small Business Administration and a local bank, she didn't raise enough funds. It was especially frustrating be - cause she knew people in the area wanted to see the cave, located on the east side of Bella Vista on Dart- moor Road, open. She hasn't changed the plan for the Adventure Park, but it will probably open in phases, she said. The first phase will be a restaurant inside the cave. "The concept is kind of like a pop-up five-star restaurant," she said. She's been in touch with the Cu - linary Institute of Arkansas and believes it will be a good opportunity for their graduates. Along with the restau- rant, she wants to open the old underground ballroom and return big bands to the bandstand. "It would be like stepping back in time — with big band music and a great restaurant," she said. The next phase might be the underground am - phitheater with seating for 3,000 and "perfect" acous- tics. The space is there, but it will take some work to get easy access to it. She also has plans for a new building around the cave entrance. "It's lovely," she said about the plan, "It goes with the architecture here but focuses on the natural." A gift shop and other above ground attractions could be added later, she said. "The property that I have is so historically valuable, it's just waiting to hap - pen," she said. The Bella Vista Historical Society, the group that operates the museum, has been very supportive, she said. She hopes to work closely with them in the future. "I've owned the cave for 12 years and put together a company. It just takes time, but I know that it will hap - pen," Edwards said. Photo courtesy of the Bella Vista Historical Society During the 1930s and 40s, Wonderland Cave was a popular night spot for dancers and Big Bands. Photo courtesy of the Bella Vista Historical Society Members of the Arkansas State Legislature gathered underground in the Wonderland Cave in 1931. Entertainment part of history of Wonderland Cave Back when Bella Vista was a summer resort, developer C.A. Line- barger visited an underground nightclub in Paris and thought about the cave locally known as "The Big Cave," according to information published on the Rogers Historical Museum website. He returned home and opened a nightclub in the newly renamed Wonderland Cave in 1930. The first musical act was Clarence Love and his band. The nightclub operated successfully until the 1950's. Members of the Arkansas State Senate met informally in the cave in 1931. When the Linebargers sold the resort to E.L. Keith in 1952, the cave wasn't included. By then the nightclub was closed, but the cave was open for tours, according to Gilbert Fite's history of Bella Vista, "From Vision to Reality." Sometime in the 1960s, barrels of fresh water and other sup- plies were stored in the cave after it was designated as a nuclear fallout shelter. In 1965, Cooper Communities Inc. leased the cave from the Linebargers and the newly formed POA used it for special events. It was opened as a nightclub in the late 1980s. In the 1990s, a developer bought both Wonderland Cave and the Sunset Hotel, which was located just off U.S. 71. The plan was to connect the two with a gondola that stretched over the highway. But in 1999, the hotel burned down due to arson. In 2004, both properties were set to be auctioned. When no one bid on the cave, ownership passed to Jan Edwards, who had invested in the project.

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