Only In America (Pittsburgh Park) Still At It

Monday, September 19, 2005 11:56 PM
-Act 1 (The Intro)

I'm sure most of you know the whole story of "Only In America" and the park they claim to be opening in the Pittsburgh area.

If you're not familiar, you can catch up by looking:

Here - Here - Here

In a nutshell, not too many are buying into it.

-Act 2 (The plot thickens)

You may also know that I live pretty near the area that this park is supposedly going up. My wife has a pretty high-up hotel job in the area.

Well, today a two page letter, survey and flyer came across her desk from - you guessed it - Only In America!

Take a look at the materials (printed on a home inkjet, mind you) right here. (be sure to scroll down - it's a large image)

-Act 3 (The finale)

Ok, so what's the deal?

Is this thing really coming together or is this some of the most irresponsible promotion ever attempted?

Doesn't that letter state that they actually hold the 760 acres?

They're even promising to bring 2400 new jobs to the area.

The whole letter talks as if this IS happening going as far as to write:

"The number of people coming through the area WILL affect your business."

Is it just me or does it seem incredibly irresponsible to go door-to-door and start telling businesses in the area to start thinking about, preparing for and expecting a huge influx of tourism to the area? Escpecially if the info (some of it pretty damn credible) we have previously posted around here is remotely true.

So what's the deal?

Irresponsible manifestation of some guy's pipe dream or slowly becoming a reality?


*** Edited 9/20/2005 4:11:04 AM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:08 AM

Sorry if this still sounds like a 'CPO with money' type thing, but it does.

Guess I'll wait and see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:11 AM
God, not this again. I think this is the biggest scam on the planet. But, if it happens, I will glady apologize. Toooooooo funny though. Thanks, Gonch! See ya at PFN!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:18 AM
I have no real insight into this, but I laughed at "in seven years we'll be as big as Cedar Point!!!" And at only one million guests each year? Wow, count me in. ;)


Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:34 AM
I'm all for it. Where else can you ride the worlds longest roller coaster and other biggest/longest rides/attractions for only $15 for a ride all day admission at a park that's bigger than "their closest competitor", all while not standing in any line whatsoever? Umm...Wait. How are they going to do that again?

"When all of your wishes come true, many of your dreams will be destroyed"-Marilyn Manson.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 4:12 AM
^I am with Dexter. I will have to see it to believe it. I thought the *brochure* was hilarious. How much crack are these guys doing?

I thought their website was suppossed to be updated like 2 years ago?

I noticed they asked how people would feel about them relocating to Wheeling, WV. I say bring it on. Wheeling needs something to spice it up a little.


*** Edited 9/20/2005 8:26:53 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 4:42 AM
Wheeling? Now I know its a crok.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005 7:27 AM
Want me to really put this one to bed? I have access to all the records of property owners nearby the airport. I can pretty easily see if these people actually do own any land in the area they're talking about, or if they just see open land and think they can buy all of it.

Now this is all assuming that they'd be able to clear all this nonsense with the FAA since it's so close to the airport and judging by their description, RIGHT IN the safety areas for one of the major runways for the airport. Large buildings with reflective surfaces and large roller coasters which stick up into the safety areas are NOT going to "fly".

I'll report back after work!

--Brett, Investigative Reporter

Edit: you think they paid for any of those pictures on the back of their brochure? You think Geauga Lake would be interested to find out someone probably pirated a picture of their coaster for their own profit and benefit? ;)

*** Edited 9/20/2005 11:28:26 AM UTC by Impulse-ive***

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 8:51 AM
I'm guessing this is an attempt to show early stage investors that there is support in the area. It might be someone with a bit of money; with the USAir pullout, I have to believe that land in that area isn't what it once was, and even then it wasn't much. Flat-out lying about owning property would be even dumber than I would have given them credit for, but it's possible.

Of course, most early stage investors are pretty smart guys---that's how they got so much money. So, even if this survey generates positive results, it may not matter in the end, because the business plan (that we've seen so far) is hogwash, as dexter so eloquently points out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 10:26 AM

Since that proposal positively defies rational thought, I absolutely refuse to write a rational response as to why this is such complete crap. *** Edited 9/20/2005 2:26:58 PM UTC by BBSpeed26***

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 11:44 AM
Since I am involved with permits in the Pittburgh area, a development this size would require a traffic impact study and possible transportation improvements. Assuming they would hire an engineer that knows what they are doing, the approval process could easily take 6 months to a year. And banks aren't in the habit of giving loans to developments that don't have the necessary permits.

Considering I haven't heard a peep about this in the transportation world, I wouldn't buy my 2007 season pass yet.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:13 PM
Ok, the land he's talking about straddles two counties, Allegheny and Washington. There are MANY owners within that area, no one person owns the entire thing, so that's a load of bull right there. There are two large farms in the area, upwards of 200 acres each, but by satellite images, they appear to be pretty active, so I doubt they'd be all that interested in selling, although if the price was right ...

The rest of the people own just a couple of acres a pop, but it'd be a ton of property acquisition. The land is very mountainous, so it'd require a lot of earthwork. Not to mention that in the area, there are at
least three satellite-visible lakes, which would make any sort of development across the entire site an absolute nightmare environmentally with all the wetlands mitigation and protection that's going to be
required. The land is not as close to the airport as he claims, for those that know the area, it's a heck of a lot closer to Star Lake than the airport. On top of this, the roadway he would need doesn't exist yet. The area is back in the boonies, with worse access than even Kennywood as it currently stands. The roadway that's running through that area isn't
going to be ready until probably late '06 if not '07 or '08, which means even construction access to the area in the amounts needed for that sort of development would be limited at best until the Findlay Connector (that road) is completed. And even if the road is connected,
it's sort of a highway to nowhere right now, both terminals of the roadway, in the current phase, end at roads that wouldn't really be able to carry major amusement park traffic.

Now let's also add in that his target market already has ski and tubing slopes which are a lot higher and better than anything he could build in a dome not an hour and a half to the east, a local amusement park which locals are very loyal too, and two major amusement parks that are considered "day trips" to the west that attract even more fierce loyalty. Toss in that there's already been proposals for an indoor NASCAR track and a horse-track for that area that have fallen through, the upcoming
slots casinos in PA, the highly successful Wheeling casino complex just to the west, and the general NIMBYness of people in PA?

It's never gonna happen. Ever. Please stop taking this guy seriously.

Honestly, I wonder how close this guy's getting to the border of pipe dream and doing things that are illegal! Claiming he already owns that land? Claiming an opening date when there aren't even contracts issued yet, or ground broken? Stealing images of coasters and such from other places? Sounds pretty fishy to me ...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:27 PM
Cool, Brett - thanks! You too, Special Ed. :)

That's kind of my point exactly. How f'd up is it to make these claims then parade around the area trying to drum up support (and this is where I think Brian is dead on) to entice investors when the support you got in the first place was based on lies?

The funny thing is, I never had mentioned the Only In America thing to my wife and she only showed me the stuff because she thought I'd be very interested in a new park going up in the area. Once I explained the whole backstory to her, she was kind of pissed.

How many less savvy business owners/managers are looking at this a slobbering over the ideas of increased business in the future?

There's something that's just SO irresponsible to me about doing that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:39 PM
Especially in this area which is absolutely DESPARATE for some sort of economic upturn. Not saying we're headed for the slums around here or anything, but with USAirways whole difficulties and uncertainties about tenants at the airport, this area's basically been in a "holding pattern" (in an ironic use of terms for an area based around an airport) economically until people see what happens with a whole host of things. From who takes over the airport, to what the airline industry as a whole turns into, to the designation of 376/279/22-30/60 to full out I-376 and the construction of the Southern Beltway, it's just a wait and see.

Now you toss in this load of crap to someone who's not really looking for a hoax, there's certainly going to be some really pissed off businesses out there.

I hate to be all like ... self-important and stuff, but do you think it's up to us (ie - me, SpecialEd, Gonch) that know in this area to maybe do a little whistle blowing with this guy? Andy Sheehan or something? ;)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 1:17 PM
Well, I'm not sure it's even on the level of Andy Sheehan, but in it's own little sense it's a colossal waste of everybody's time and such.

All the way from the people that get bothered with these little 'packets of info' to the people that they get passed along to, to the potential investors (who mustn't be too interested at this point) that get bothered with questionable feedback to those hurting business folks that might see this as potential future salvation to people like us who arent really affected but are just generally annoyed by it.

I'm all for going for something you believe in, but you gotta do it right.

This isn't right.

Plus, it's fun to call out these bozos. (as we have so many times in the past) :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 1:19 PM
Paddle boats AND a wedding chapel? How can you go wrong? Notice how they don't actually say they "own" 760 acres, they just say they "hold" them.

I did some checking of my own on the DEP permit tracking website. I searched for Only IN America, LLC... all permits in the Ingomar ZIP code, all LLC's with permits in Allegheny County.. and found nada. This company hasn't even applied for any of the environmental permits it's going to need (water quality, water management, sewage). So they're a long way off from going anywhere.

What does scare me though are the questions in the questionnaire about involving the state. It sounds like this guy is hoping to get state funding for this project based on the promise of 2400 jobs. Which totally sucks considering every other park in the state is getting taxed to hell. But then again, that is PA, giving tax breaks and grants to new businesses so they can brag about creating jobs. You never hear about the existing tax-paying businesses that go under because they can't compete with the guys riding the gravy train.

...Only in America.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 2:06 PM
Is it possible that "Only in America" is trying to rile up the business owners so that they would make a fuss to not only think that OIA was a good idea, but something that they would NEED? And of course, OIA would then assume that the business owners would bring up this need to their local, county, city, and state, officials. And when the officials ask who could make this increase in business happen, the local businesses need it to happen -- OIA could ride in on their horse (or longest roller coaster ;) ) and save the day.

As it stands, with all of the research that so many of you completed and shared above, it shows that we are more able to get "Only in America" off the ground, than they are themselves.

At first I thought this was all somewhat funny and amusing. I do agree that the area business owners, if they knew the real facts, that they too would be upset. I think now I am just creeped out about the whole situation.

Perhaps the local Better Business Bureau could be contacted...

I have to add, that although I feel that they are up to something not quite kosher, I guess I did not feel that were trying to drum up investors. Now that I have re-read their letter, and some of your comments, I'm creeped out even more. Maybe it's not the BBB that should be contacted, but rather the PA State Attorney's Office.

. *** Edited 9/20/2005 6:12:23 PM UTC by ltlbat***

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 3:05 PM
Someone should email that guy this thread so we can hear his side of the story! Reminds me of Titanfan_13, or the coaster preservation club :)
Tuesday, September 20, 2005 3:07 PM
They are registered as an LLC in Pennsylvania, so they have spents at least $50 on this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 3:07 PM
LOL..did you see the survey on their site?

I love the "what price do you think we should charge", the "free days", and the "10 minute rollercoaster ride" ones!


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