Wild Escape official says park is a "done deal"

Posted Thursday, August 3, 2006 8:56 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The concept of Wild Escape is not a new one, Steve Minard, president of Crystal Mountain West Virginia LLC said-- nearly the exact business and development plans have been presented and considered in both Iowa and Nebraska. "And what that means to the people of Ohio County is that this will be the first one in the country," the amusement park president said. "The speculation about the developments in Iowa and Nebraska actually involves the same project -- we just moved it across the state line.

Read more from WOWK/Wheeling.

In related news, Dennis Spiegel, president of International Theme Park Services, said he's skeptical of the plans, and one local official says it's because he had a prior relationship with Kennywood.

Read more from The Intelligencer.

Friday, August 4, 2006 2:17 AM
Anybody know anything about "Attraction Management Services," a 30-year old company involved in the construction of 32 theme parks? Google doesn't show much other than 4 articles from the Wheeling paper, a generic listing on Nebraska business site, and a company in England that happens to have a position called "attraction management services."

It's interesting how this is playing out. You have the park developer promising 2 million visitors a year and 9 billion in income over 30 years, a 3-story carousel with its own elevator (who makes those anyway?), a launch coaster that will go from 0-50 in 4 seconds (Hmmm), 1,500 jobs ranging from $8.50 an hour to $180,000 annually, and have parts of it open within a year.

You have local economic development officials brimming over with blind faith for the project. I guess they're desperate to show they do something in their jobs. So they're willing to fork over $35 million, although it sounds like that grant is for improvements to the entire site-- that highway interchange will eat up a big chunk of that.

And of course with a project like this, skepticism or even merely asking for specifics (how will this be done?, what are you basing your numbers on?, etc.) is dismissed with the "oh you're just jealous" or the "How dare you question the expert" attitude.

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Friday, August 4, 2006 7:27 AM
Just keep saying softly --- Paradise Lake, Paradise Lake, Paradise Lake.

Actually, a waterpark could be expected to do well here but I cant see a big theme park with 2 million guests a year. If they do get off the ground, KW and GL won't take this lying down. They might both speed up their future plans to head off this upstart.

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Saturday, August 5, 2006 2:21 AM
Has there been any mention of what the first phase (of 3) will consist of? Are there any deals with ride mfrs., waterpark equipment mfrs., etc.? Those things do take time to construct. Or do they think they'll stop over at Cabela's and grab a few boxes off the shelf? What could they have in place by this time next year? Obviously, the local officials have no clue what it takes to build a park, and they're just relying on whatever this Minard guy is telling them.

How can they use the same plans and sketches they proposed in Nebraska and Iowa? Is the property shaped exactly the same? They say they're literally moving a mountain to build this park-- what about the environmental ramifications of this? I mean all the earth moving they're proposing is not that different from a strip mine. Actually wouldn't a place to be called Wild Escape/Crystal Mountain look more impressive as a terrain park utilizing the hill?

Just typing out loud. :)

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