- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The inventor of a “spill-proof” dog bowl and his partners purchased what is left of a northern Arkansas former theme park based on a comic strip for about $2 million.

Charles “Bud” Pelsor, the CEO of Great American Spillproof Products Inc., and his partners bought about 400 acres of the former Dogpatch theme park in Newton County, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1yE2IK9 ).

Dogpatch USA was a former attraction that opened in 1968 and closed in 1993. It was based on Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” comic strip that was published nationwide in more than 700 newspapers.

Dogpatch and Marble Falls, a neighboring park with a ski resort, had about 863 acres put together, Pelsor said. Parts of Dogpatch had been sold off earlier.

“We did not get everything,” Pelsor said. “It looked like it was butchered up and piecemealed out a few years ago.”

Pelsor said he wants to turn the company’s purchase, which includes the main part of the old theme park and about 25 buildings, into an ecotourism location with a restaurant and a creek stocked with trout and freshwater pearl mussels.

Pelsor is from Indiana but has family who lived in Arkansas. He visited the former theme park when he was a child in the 1970s.

“I saw Dogpatch open in its heyday,” he said. “I saw how the local residents thrived from it. … All the houses along the road had jellies, jams, quilts for sale. I was really impressed with it. I kept making trips down here, and it just kept getting worse and worse and worse.”

He said he is moving to Marble Falls to live in a former ski lodge that he plans to buy.

Pelsor’s partners are James and Susan Robertson of Newbury Park, California. James Robertson is the business’ chief financial officer.

“Our plan is a bit dynamic, and it’s going to change as it goes along,” Pelsor said. “We are going to do green development, ecotourism.”

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com