Residents speak out on proposed Great Escape expansion
Posted Friday, September 1, 2000 9:16 PM | Contributed by CalvinJ23
Plans to expand the Great Escape are drawing criticism from the community. Some say the so-called noise and traffic pollution would ruin their quiet, lakeside homes. Others say it would provide an economic boost that Queensbury could really use. This plan is causing so much controversy that last night's public comment session ran late, with only about half of the speakers who signed up to speak able to do so. The planning board is expected to continue the meeting, though they haven't set an exact date. The park can't expect final site approval until all the public comments are heard or submitted in writing, then Great Escape will respond. The deadline for that is September 11th, and Great Escape is hoping for final approval by the year's end.
I can see the residents point. If you had a house built before the park was created then they have every right to be angry. You should hear what some of the Gurnee residents around SFGAm have to say about the park. Alot of them despise it.
What has usually has happened in these cases is that the park was built out in the boonies and the town grows out towards it,sometimes eventually surrounding it.This is what happened to Knott's and to Elitch's. Then it becomes what is known as NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). The parks were there first,but very often wind up getting the shaft.
I agree about NIMBY. Look at what Disneyland wanted to do with California Adventure (Westcot) The backlash from the residents of Anaheim was so large that they had to scale it back to what California Adventure is now. Sort of shows the power of the people, no? I just don't get it though. If you buy a home near a theme park, you shouldn't be able to complain. It's your own fault for purchasing so close to the park. If they were there first, first come, first serve, you know? It's just sad that people who move in way after the park is there can make the park rethink any expansion. It's not right. Peace. :)
Coasterman I wholeheartedly agree. We had a similar thread on a site that concerns narrow gauge railroads(another one of my passions). It had to do with the fact that at Knott's they really can't blow the whistles on the locomotives. They have to kind of "whoof" them. After 9:00 PM they can't even do that.this due to "complaints" filed by the people who now live around the park. There were no houses around the park when Walter Knott put the train in, so it wasn't a problem. If anybody is to blame it's the city of Buena Park for allowing the housing to come up literally to the parks gates. As for the people who bought the houses there is no excuse. They knew what was there when they bought it. If they don't like it, I know a reat many people who would!
Coasterman, DCA has nothing to do with residents complaining. In fact most of the residents were for the new park and Westcot was cut for money reasons and not beciase of public backlash. For the full storsy read Jim Hill's great article at: http://www.mouseplanet.com/jim/apr0300.htm
I love going to the Great Escape, its a good park, and this expansion is just what it needs. For anyone that has been there, there really arent to many house's around near the park. Farther down the road there are some, but for right now, if they expand and make these changes in the land where i think there going to be adding the new rides (behind Ghost Town) then i dont see why people would be against this expansion right now. Hopefully things will go through, and Great Escape will receieve a nice new 200+ coaster :) I know id love it since riding the Superman at SFNE i just dont get the same rush that i used to when riding the Comet or other coasters at Great Ecape.
I live about 9mi from SFO and I was not pleased about the transition from GL. It is obvious that none of you have ever had to deal the traffic generated by two theme parks on a Sunday afternoon, week after week, summer after summer. Saturdays have more attendance, but it is spread out a little more across the day. I live between the parks and what is probably the most commonly used freeway exit, exit 13/I-80, to get to the parks. Traffic does back up on the nine miles to the parks and you cannot move in downtown Streetsboro or Aurora. I do however think that the park should not be forced to follow what the people around the park want. If the park's change to SF(which is what I think this expansion is about) bothers them that much then they should move. It will probably lower residential land value around there anyway.
In regards to parks being shafted by their neighbors.....take Dorney Park for example. Dorney Park started off as a fish hatchery in 1860, and then turned into a little park in 1870. People from around the Allentown area decided to move to the area, being appropriately named Dorneyville. Presently, for EVERY ride the park adds, Cedar Fair must ask the local township for approval. Usually the park gets what they want, however, the park usually has to downsize the project. An example is of the new S&S turbo drop/space shot towers DOMINATOR. That ride debuted last year, and was originally supposed to be well over 200ft. tall, however the locals requested a smaller ride, and the ride is approximately 170 ft. tall. I hope at one point in time, the park will seek action to build what they REALLY desire. In Dorney's Case, the park WAS there first, and the people moved in later. I wonder what will happen in the future after Talon, the new-to-be Longest coaster in the Northeast :) I've got my fingers crossed for Dorney's future. And honestly, I have just finished my fourth season working at Dorney, and IMO the coasters are not noisy to the point where, (the locals say, "those rides make our quality of life poorer". GIVE ME A BREAK, Dorney pays so much local revenue to the township, that Dorney probably makes your life richer by having lower taxes in general. ) If you've ever been to Dorney, you will notice how 'blossoming' the area is, there are many hotels and restaurants due to Cedar Fair's Dorney Park, which gives ton of money to the area :) ATR7288@aol.com ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Long Live Cedar Fair!!
San Diego said the same in the early 60's, so Disney moved north to LA then to Florida to build what he wanted in San Diego. What a mistake. Land to be used is now Sea World, Fiesta Island, Crown Point and Some BS resort.
Chiming in with what others have said, Six Flags America is having the same problems with their neighbors. The houses behind the park did not exist when it was Wild World. In fact Superman Ride of Steel was a fight the whole way because of one neighbor. Thank goodness that Prince Georges County where SFA resides realizes what an assest the park is to the local economy and has given preliminary approval to future development. I do think that residents should be able to weigh in on development, but should realize what improvements can do for their community (new jobs, tax revenue etc.)
I don't think amusement parks should be forced to change their plans because of what the residents around them want. However, I do think they should be forced to deal with issues such as traffic concerns. If a expansion is going to dramatically increase traffic, then the park should have to create the road improvements to deal with this. Other than that, people shouldn't live close to amusement parks if they don't want them in their backyards. They should expect these parks to expand. We are practically in a "golden age" of amusement parks when they are constantly expanding and building new rides. All parks cannot be expected to buy all the land around them like Disney did in Florida.
Personally, I love the Great Escape, and I really hope that they get the ok for some major expansion plans. The park itself is great as is, but it needs to expand beyond the family rides to the real thrill seekers (ie: inverted flat rides, large fast coasters)... and if the residents have their way, it will never be that way. In fact, if the residents have their way... The Great Escape may become a 'ghost town' because there will be a loss in attendance due to all the other parks moving up and beyond, but nothing happening to GE, except getting older, smaller, & rustier.
They definately need ride improvements, though. I can't argue with that, and the residents can't disagree with that! When I was there during this past Labor Day weekend, Alpine Bobsleds were shut down along with the Magic Carpets, Desperado Plunge, & Ghost Train. It was a rather large disappointment. The funny thing is, those same rides were closed down in late June when my parents went there. Is that some kind of trend or a indication that The Great Escape needs to fix up their rides just a little? I DID notice that the Comet got a much faster chain this year, because I was there in '99, and it wasn't that fast!! That is definately a turn-on!
But my point is that the whiny residents shouldn't complain. There aren't that many local houses near there, and this can only help, not hurt, the economy. Problems? Widen the road to 4 lanes!! Any other problems? MOVE OUT (I'll move in!).
Dawg Byte, the reason some rides were closed wasnt because of problems with the rides, this year they had a shortage of employees. Ive been there on days where there have just been few employees and then the ride maintenance guys would be at some places running rides such as the comet and boomerang. also the reason the bobsled was closed in june is because it was receiving a new paint job.
CalvinJ23, If some of the rides were shut down due to the shortage of employees... why would they shut down two or three of the best rides there (Desperado Plunge, Ghost Train...)? Why not close the indoor scrambler, rotor, or other low attendance rides (not that their bad, but I'd take a water ride over a throw-up ride anytime)?
Anyway, I am not really wishing to remove any rides, rolacostaking, because a lot of those rides do make up the Great Escape. I remember years ago when I was there, they had a spider ride, they had a wild mouse coaster too which was located I think close to the bumper cars... but that's all gone.
What they need is conservative yet smart planning. If they got the room, they need not remove any rides, just add them. Traffic flow would actually be much smoother if they widened up Route 9 to 4 lanes in that general area and build a pedestrian bridge there (although, that better not be the big news for 2001).
BTW: Anyone who lives near the Great Escape area ever know what happened to the sky lab? It's still there dismantled and behind a fence. Also, how come GE never put any other rides in that area? It's empty except 1 ride and a pavillion!