Elitch Gardens future uncertain, but locals hope to keep amusement park

Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2006 9:26 AM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The linked article quotes Paul Ruben, who is often cited as an industry "expert," though the CoasterBuzz editorial staff has yet to find anyone who has seen "Park World" in the wild. -J]

It makes more economic sense to keep the site as an amusement park than to convert it, some say. Moreover, the site is zoned exclusively as an amusement park, and the city, which invested more than $30 million in redeveloping the property for Elitch Gardens, opposes changing its use.

Read more from The Denver Post. Also, read an editorial on the subject.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2006 12:18 PM
Here you go: http://www.datateam.co.uk/business_publications/park_world.htm

It's worth noting that Park World is a European publication and Ruben is an "American correspondent." It's also insanely expensive. The fact that it does exist, however, doesn't mean that Ruben is any more credible.


Tuesday, August 8, 2006 1:13 PM
Jeff's avatar It's a little fishy that they don't publish their circ.

Still, I liked him better in PeeWee's Playhouse.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 1:49 PM
I thought the editorial was quite interesting. The writer, obviously a member of the GP, hit on many of the points that people have written about in here with SF-- both before and after Red Zone. Points that others have dismissed as things only enthusiasts care about but the GP doesn't notice.

First, there was the previous management's emphasis on thrill seeking teens. Now it's the top dollar food and admission prices and the $15 parking fee. So even with its proximity to the Pepsi Center, most people still don't think sporting events and amusement parks should be priced comparably.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 3:03 PM
Elitch's has been a blunder since the previous owners made the move. They made about 5 critical textbook errors. I am quite suprised that Lakeside is so quiet. Maybe they are smarter than SF thinks.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 3:37 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar The thing with Elitch is the same thing that happened with Geauga Lake - they took a traditional, local park and tried to instill the megapark mindset to a community happy with picnic lunches and quaint, tree-lined pathways.

Parks like Great Adventure and Great America do better because they had the 'big park' thing happening already - no scary changes for those with a certain mindset ingrained in the locals.

I'm sure the time frame of the takeovers matters too. Note which SF parks have done relatively well and which have been met with major backlash - parks that either had the small, local feel changed or we part of the late 90's takeovers (in many cases both apply) seem to have suffered while parks that were already 'big parks' or were taken over before the late 90's seem to be weathering this whole thing much better.

Basically the morons heading the company from that time until Red Zone moved in were complete, total, textbook definitions of morons and now everyone is paying for it - communities, investors, enthusiasts and even Snyder/Shapiro and crew.

The big picture is that the last decade of SF leadership sank the ship like never seen in any amusement industry company and now it's time to face reality and Red Zone has the dirty job of dealing with the clean-up...but at least they're cleaning up rather than acting like nothing was wrong and throwing more coasters at parks each year while cutting every other corner possible.

I still say, "Yay, Shapiro!" :)

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 3:45 PM
Ruben is obviously a media whore who has no real authority or more knowledge than a lot of people here. He rides his "Park World" title like he dishes out the "world's greatest coaster" title. I wouldn't believe a single word he says.

But his publication does exist. :)


Tuesday, August 8, 2006 5:18 PM
Jeff's avatar Yes, and the difference is that most of us here admit we have no idea what the hell we're talking about. :)
Tuesday, August 8, 2006 7:47 PM
I've been to both incarnations of Elitchs'. The original had become landlocked in what had become a residential neighborhood. The more recent residents in spite of knowing full well of what their neighbors were complained incessently about the noise, traffic, etc. There was no room for the park to grow any further. They were building attractions on top of other attractions when I was there for the last time in the early 1980's. When the opportunity to relocate to a more open space close to the newly revitalized downtown presented itself they made the move. The incentives from the city didn't slow them down either. But as Agent J said they made some monumental blunders in the process. The "new" Elitch's is an uninspiring collection of rides on what was the Union Pacific's Denver rail yard. Not only that it's landlocked once again.
An enlightened owner and mangement team with a hefty bankroll can make some definite improvements on this property, but it will take that and a fair amount of time to succeed.
Monday, August 14, 2006 7:22 AM
Kennywood almost ended up as another Six Flags disaster but the owners said no to a big money offer. Funny how some "family" park owners put sentiment ahead of getting the top dollar. Of course KW is quite profitable in spite of its hard to get to location and its atypical pricing of food and parking.

Knoebels and HW are two other parks where this is true as well. They take a "Main Street" approach to the parks instead of a "Wall Streat" appproach.


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