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Land marked for enchantment Granite Park developer unveils plans for a 10-acre theme park.By Sanford Nax / The Fresno Bee09/20/07 04:32:23




First came the soccer and baseball fields. Then a restaurant and announcement of new office buildings. Now comes the most exciting part of The Village at Granite Park.


Roller coasters, a flume ride and an enchanted forest.


Granite Park developer Milt Barbis and San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneur Howard Young will unveil plans today for a 10-acre theme park that will put an exclamation point on the innovative office/entertainment/retail project near Dakota and Cedar avenues.


Three roller coasters -- including one that was formerly at MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park in Las Vegas and soars 70 feet high before dipping within 50 feet of Sammy Hagar's proposed Cabo Wabo Cantina, and another coaster similar to Survivor, The Ride at Great America in Santa Clara -- will help make this project, The Forest at Granite Park, a complete family destination, they said.


"It will be a scaled-down Downtown Disney," Barbis said.


The theme park's name stems from the variety of forest ecosystems that will make up the 10 acres. Young said he wants to provide a family learning experience above all else.


"My intent is not just to build a roller coaster theme park, but to build a family park," he said. "I want people to enjoy this even if it didn't have any rides.


"It will depict different forests around the world."


I met this guy over a year ago at Golds Gym. He approached me because I had my TPR shirt on. We chatted and this was to have happened a year ago. It is nice to see he finally got his funding and the project is moving forward. He is to announce more detailed plans today but if they are anything like he told me before, it should be a pretty nice little park.

Edited by gisco
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Whats up with Survivor coaster, I cant find it anywhere on RCDB.

Those who are looking for that MGM Adventures ride heres a link:



Now whats the Survivor ride


It's not on RCDB because it's not a coaster. It's not even a powered coaster. It's called a Disk-O, which is a flat ride.


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It doesn't matter WHAT the Disko-coaster is on RCDB. To the park owner, it matter's how they can market the ride. And if they can market it as a coaster, then as far as the Fresnonian-public is concerned, it's a coaster!




I suppose this is another reason to visit Fresno, but it still doesn't warrant staying in Fresno! I guess I'll stop by this place on a trip to Yosemite one year or something.







...and Ryan, Yosemite is NOT Fresno's back-yard!



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Sweet! So glad Lightning Bolt will finally find a new home, been for sale so long thought for sure it would be sold for scrap by now. Loved that ride with it's crazy +g-filled Intamin first have, followed by Arrows bunny hop airtime filled second half, great family fun coaster. Wonder if the log ride will also be from MGM, was a fun one too from my memory.


And only Paramount, purely for marketing purposes, ever considered S:TR to be a coaster.

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I rode Lightning Bolt in its original form at MGM in 1995. Unfortunately, I never made it back to that park before it closed to ride it when they moved it outside and extended it.


Now, thankfully, I can now that it'll be in Fresno. But I'll go anyway.



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Work starts on theme park Crews get busy near Cedar and Dakota at old Harpain's Dairy.By Sanford Nax / The Fresno Bee09/21/07 05:37:56


Bulldozers are pushing dirt, roller coasters are on order and the developer of California's newest proposed theme park hopes to board the first rider next April.


Howard Young said he has financing in place, and Fresno officials said the project has been approved. That allows the Bay Area businessman to proceed with efforts to build The Forest at Granite Park, an entertainment park consisting of 24 rides and attractions on 10 acres in central Fresno.


The theme park would be a key component of the larger Village at Granite Park, a $70 million campus of sports fields, restaurants, hotels and businesses on 40 acres near Cedar and Dakota avenues -- the old Harpain's Dairy Farm, which closed in 1977.


Joyce and Don Duncan have lived on East Hampton Way across from the former dairy for 48 years. They miss the farm, but support Granite Park because it provides something for families to do, and rids the neighborhood of an unsightly, vacant field, Joyce Duncan said Thursday.


Her comments came only minutes after Young and Milt Barbis, developer of Granite Park, unveiled plans for The Forest at a news conference. They said Thursday that the focal points of the theme park will be three roller coasters, including one that at one time was part of the Las Vegas MGM Grand that will span 2,400 linear feet and wind its way through different forest ecosystems.


The park also will house MGM Grand's log flume ride, which features two drops, and the nearby lazy river ride; a swing ride that launches riders with 4.5 Gs of force in three seconds; and a double-decker carousel with forest animals hand carved out of teak wood.


Younger children will find an extensively themed area with bright colors and elaborate forest details, while plaques throughout the park will blend education with attractions as children learn about various ecosystems, officials say.


The theme park would boost the recreational offerings in the central San Joaquin Valley, complementing water parks and Blackbeard's Family Fun Center, which has water slides, miniature golf, paintball courses, bumper boats, race tracks and other attractions.


"Nobody will be able to say there is nothing to do in Fresno," Barbis said.


Young said he has bought, repositioned and started many businesses in the past 20 years, including the Just Desserts chain of specialty bakeries. This is his first theme park, and a venture he described as closest to his heart.


"This one is very personal to me," he said, adding he has no plans to sell it after it's established. "You don't get this opportunity every day."


He wouldn't disclose his investment in The Forest except to say it's in the "tens of millions." He said he conducted and commissioned extensive market studies that showed the park could draw customers from throughout Central California.


The San Joaquin Valley alone is larger than 10 U.S. states.


"This is the center of California, is one of the largest cities in California and has age and economic diversity," Young said. But he added that the overwhelming consideration was the nature of Granite Park, which will have ball fields, nine office buildings and restaurants.


On Thursday, the development was buzzing with activity. Tractors prepared the northernmost portion for the first office buildings, and construction crews were building additional restaurants.


"It has a huge amount of synergy," Young said of Granite Park. "This should be a destination."


A little disappointed at the announcement. The basically gave no further information then we already knew. They never said what the other coaster would be either.


Originally the park was to have a pirate theme. It was to include a shot tower, dark rides and a shwarzkopf double loop coaster from the German Fair circut.

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Looks like Robb and Elissa will have to plan a Central Valley Tour--Granite Park in Fresno, Funderland in Sacramento, and Micke's Grove in Lodi (with an optional addon to Pixie Woods in Stockton and maybe the Nut Tree in Vacaville).


Or not.

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As a former MGM Grand Adventures ride op, I'm happy its going somewhere. I always thought it was an underrated ride in its final form. The addition of the airtime hills added to the ride. The former location over the MGM rapids ride was really good, so it should be interesting what they do with this. I just wish they'd get newer Intamin trains or do something with the headrest/coffins they had.

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The park sounds cute. I'd like to see how it turns out.


BTW, how is a Zamperla DiskO Coaster less of a coaster than an Intamin Half Pipe?


The Giant DiskO and basic DiskO aren't long or big enough to be considered a coaster, since their just a basic "half moon" shaped layout. It would be like calling a Bayern Curve a coaster.

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As the ex-owner of the MGM Lightnin Bolt roller coaster I can say that the ride has officially been sold to the Park in Fresno as well as the Log Flume and the Bumper cars.


We purchased the rides from the defunct MGM park several years ago for a park that was planned for North of Seattle. Due to conflicts with an Indian Tribe that park had to be postponed.


The rides have been in storage in the Nevada desert but will soon be transported to Fresno. Here is a picture of the coaster and sky coaster. I will post more of the coaster shortly if interested.


FYI- the MGM's Rapid Ride has been sold to a park in Mexico. Thankfully those rides will live on in new parks.


pieces of the Sky Coaster and the intamin/arrow "Lightnin Bolt" coaster in the background

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Here are some pictures of the coaster being removed from the MGM park. Also some of the ride in storage near Las Vegas.


I understand that there will be some slight alterations made to the coaster to fit the project in Fresno. I am not sure if the track layout will be altered or if the changes will be made to the structure of the ride. The Intamin portion of the ride was all on flat land but the Arrow portion of the land was built on a hillside over and around the Rapids Ride.


Intamin and Arrow track in storage waiting to be shipped to Fresno


Mostly arrow track in this picture


Here you can see the original Intamin track and a few of the supports. The ride was originally built indoors. When it was moved outdoors and additional 1200 feet of ride was supplied by arrow.


An arrow section of track is loaded on a flat bed and moved out of the defunct MGM grand adventures theme park


The Intamin track heads out.


Here is where the track transitions from intamin to arrow.


Storage in the Las Vegas Desert. Originally headed to Seattle, but now on its way to Fresno.


Arrow portion of the ride being dismantled


another section of the arrow track being taken down


Lightning Bolt trains. There are two trains originally for the coaster but during the last years of operation at MGM only one was used. The other was used for parts. Along with the coaster we bought several spare parts for the trains so I am not sure if the coaster at Fresno will be a one train operation or if the second train will be rebuilt.


Intamin track being removed


Lightning Bolt coaster at MGM Grand Adventure Theme Park

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