A plaque will be installed near the site of the Zippin Pippin and will honor both the coaster and Libertyland.
From the Commercial Appeal:
The project to replicate the Zippin Pippin has been set on the fast track.
“That roller coaster is going to outlast all of us,” said Mayor Jim Schmitt of Green Bay, Wis.
That city recently held a celebration of the historic ride, which once anchored Libertyland in Memphis and soon will be the flagship attraction at Wisconsin’s Bay Beach Amusement Park.
On Tuesday, Jimmy Ogle, president of the Memphis organization Remember Libertyland, helped contractors rummage through old parts before the last of the ride was hauled north.
The nonprofit group, formerly known as Save Libertyland! Inc., sold Green Bay the name, design and history of the roller coaster, including the cars, for $35,000.
Memphis will unveil a historical marker at the roller coaster’s old site near the Mid-South Fairgrounds at noon Nov. 1. A two-sided plaque will commemorate Libertyland on one side and the Pippin, known as Elvis Presley’s favorite ride, on the other, Ogle said.
“We’ve done a lot of fighting, and this has finally been resolved,” Ogle said. “In name and in spirit, the Pippin found a home.”
During the community event Oct. 9 in Green Bay, a few thousand children were invited to sign the coaster’s top-most beam, the place where riders glance heavenward before plummeting nearly 70 feet down the wooden frame.
The children were also invited to empty their piggybanks to ensure the future of the ride at the fundraising event.
The project to rebuild the Zippin Pippin will cost Green Bay an estimated $3 million; the city borrowed $2.4 million and pledged $600,000 in private donations.
Nearly all of the building materials will be newly purchased, as most of the old structure in Memphis was deemed unsalvageable once it had been left to the elements after Libertyland closed.
The foundation already has been laid at Bay Beach park. Miron Construction Co. of Neenah, Wis., received $936,753 to build the wooden frame.
“This is our first coaster, so it’s definitely a learning experience,” said Kurt Wolfgram, project manager.
Wolfgram said the structure would stay true to the design, drawn by John A. Miller in 1923.
Wolfgram said the ride should be finished by March 24. The grand opening for the Zippin Pippin in Green Bay is set for May 7, 2011, and Schmitt has renewed his promise to let any visiting Memphians ride for free.
“The Pippin couldn’t come to a better home,” the mayor said.
“The great people of Memphis will be proud of what we’re doing.”