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Granite Park

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Well it wasn't actually the fault of Seattle, The city was in favor, the land was purchased and financing was in place, the problem came from the neighboring Indian reservation.


The tribe used local environmental issues to delay the project. Because of their issues they could have tied up the project for 5-10 years so there for it was decided that it was not going to be a good investment. Instead the land is being developed as a FEC. We still own the Sky Coaster so that may pop up there. Our company also owns a Screamin Swing that does very well for us in south Seattle so I expect one will also be going in up north.

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So I went over to the construction site yesterday, since I havent really seen where theyre planning on building this thing.


Looks like the Disko is out there already, along with a few storage containers. Thats REALLY about it so far...along with paved land.

Ill post pictures later.



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Oh, great, and I'm moving to Seattle next year. Stupid Fresno. Why couldn't they have built this twelve years ago?


Stupid Seattle, they had dibs on the coaster but couldn't put the project together.




(But understands why not....sort of.)


Now I know WHY my Japan'07 Tour Roomie was "up near you, in Seattle" a while ago...



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Jeff counts this coaster as 37 credits.


Blow it out your Pop-Tart lady!


I only rode it twice, both times after it had been modified with the Arrow addition. Only counted it as ONE. (I hate explaining this crap!)


However, had I ridden it when it was completely indoors, I probably would have counted it as two. (ala Steel Phantom/Phantom's Revenge)


Deal with it!

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SharkTums wrote:

Jeff counts this coaster as 37 credits.


Blow it out your Pop-Tart lady!


Wow! Just......Wow! Only good friends can get away with that.


Glad to hear the MGM rides are getting another chance, most of course for the rapids ride. Any word on which Mexico park?


Thanks for posting the pics and LB layout. Great work finding all that info!

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Yesterday I talked with one of the partners developing the park. He is very excited about the project and it looks like it could turn out to be very nice. I was caught a little off guard when he called me back so I forgot to ask a bunch of questions I had lined up.

He was very interested in what I thought of the rides the have procured so far. Asked how I liked the log rides, shooting dark rides and such.

They are still not sure how they are going to handle the modifications to the old MGM coaster because the land it is going on is flat. If the layout remains the same, they will have to modify the supports. I'll have to ask next time if they plan on dropping the Arrow addition and go back to the original flatland layout.

I asked about the other coasters going in. They are calling the disko a coaster. He thought it might be like the one at PGA, Survivor so they are calling it a coaster too. The Disko is on site and it looks to be a regular disko and it appears to be new.

The third coaster has not been announced yet because they are still negotiating a price. He did say it was going to be bigger then the MGM coaster if negotiations were successful. We will see.

I went out to the site today and they are moving dirt and putting in the infrastructure. The disko is there and a couple of containers.

On to some construction pictures.


The area was not very secure. I could have easily walked on to the site.


Looking to the West


Looking back Southwest


Looking back Southeast. Disko is behind the containers






Yeap, it is a disko


Looking Northeast. I see disko parts


The whole area is Granite Park, No idea what the amusement park name is yet

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm a little late at replying to this, but oh well.


The pictures showing the disk-o were from a few days after I checked out the site. The disk-o wasn't there yet, so it was just recently delivered (as of the time your photos were shot). I'll be heading out there later this week, especially if track is on it's way now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went by yesterday. They started delivering track that morning. I chatted with one of the guys there and he said they were expecting a number of trucks all week. The logs were in one of the containers he said and alot of track was there. If I get a chance this week I will call the owner to get an update? The guy did say that track for a new coaster was due at the end of the week. I don't know if that ment new new or new used and since the Disco was listed as a coaster originally, it might not even be a coaster.








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ROLLER COASTER REBUILDFormer Las Vegas amusement ride arrives at its new home at Fresno's Granite Park.By Sanford Nax / The Fresno Bee11/06/07 23:08:18



Trucks lined up Tuesday morning on Highway 99 en route to deliver parts of a roller coaster that will be assembled at Granite Park, an entertainment/sports complex near Cedar and Dakota avenues in Fresno.


The first 20 of an expected 140 truckloads arrived, with the remainder expected over the next 12 days, said Milt Barbis, the park's developer.


"It was quite a sight," he said.


The trucks are carrying the former Lightening Bolt, which was operated at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.


San Francisco entrepreneur Howard Young is developing The Forest at Granite Park, a theme park that includes the rides and is a key component of the larger Granite Park project. Young's portion eventually is to have 24 rides and attractions on 10 acres.


The larger Village at Granite Park is 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.


The flatbeds arriving over the next 12 days will ferry a large flume ride and bumper cars. Additional roller coasters are expected to arrive at the end of this month, Barbis said.


The rides are expected to be complete by April.

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  • 11 months later...

The future is not looking to good for Granite park. The article says there is a guy in the wings to finance this thing but with the econamy the way it is it would surprise me if some one stepped forward.


On the bright side Sammy Hagar will be in town next week to play at his club!





Granite Park's rocky futureSweet visions meet prickly reality of money woes, dead fields.By George Hostetter / The Fresno Bee10/25/08 22:13:48

Granite Park, the ever-changing entertainment project that's supposed to rejuvenate a struggling neighborhood in east-central Fresno, is in trouble. Again.

The project is finally winning consumers and creating jobs with four new restaurants -- most notably rocker Sammy Hagar's popular Cabo Wabo Cantina. But its financial problems still may cost Fresno taxpayers $5.5 million.


City Hall isn't sure where it would get the money, and may sue Granite Park's developer. Council members weren't warned about the seriousness of the crisis until this month.


Council Member Mike Dages fears the worst: "There goes the [city's] reserve, right down the tubes."


Granite Park developer Milt Barbis, however, says he has things under control.


"Things may go slow, but, in the end, I come through," he says.


Commercial/nonprofit hybrid


The 42-acre project on the old Harpain's Dairy site is an unusual hybrid with two components: commercial development and nonprofit recreation. Both have money problems.


Eighteen acres of the site belong to Granite Park Kids Foundation, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Barbis that obtained a life-saving $5.2 million loan about four years ago only because a divided City Council guaranteed the debt.


The foundation hasn't made a payment on that loan in a year and is about $500,000 in arrears. Bank of the West, the lender, could foreclose. If it does, the city must pay off the loan, which has grown to $5.5 million.


The city's options would include selling the property or developing it into a park. But, city officials acknowledge, it's unlikely in the current real-estate market that a sale would fetch $5.5 million, and the site's limited access makes it unsuitable for a park.


The 18 acres once had soccer fields and three replica major-league ballfields. In exchange for the city's loan guarantee, the foundation agreed to make the fields available at certain times to the public. But the ballfields have deteriorated to the point where they're all but unplayable; only a single field suitable for soccer remains, and it's dead grass.


Either the city or the bank may sue the foundation, says City Manager Andy Souza. He declined to say what the city might seek by going to court, other than to protect the public's interests.


"It's clear the use of that land has drifted away from what was everybody's original intent," Souza says.


The remaining 24 acres of the project, called The Village at Granite Park, belong to The Zone Sports Center, a for-profit group of investors that includes Barbis. They told the city in 2004 they'd turn the site into a hub of restaurants, nightclubs and boutiques.


It took awhile, but four restaurants are up and running. Three others are soon to open, but full development has been stalled for lack of financing, Barbis says.


He also needs more land to fulfill a vision that has expanded in the past four years. Barbis hopes to buy the dormant athletic fields from the foundation to build an amusement park. The failure of the athletic fields will be more than offset by a unique project that will attract visitors from throughout the state, he says.


But for now, parts for the nearly 30 rides Barbis hopes to install remain stacked in an empty field.


Barbis says he is lining up a businessman who, in exchange for controlling interest in all 42 acres, will infuse enough cash to pay off the bank loan and build everything on the project's drawing boards.


Fresno "will have a project worth $120 million," Barbis says, predicting the deal will be wrapped up in early November. He declines to identify the investor.


Should the deal fall through, Barbis says, he has another equity investor waiting in the wings.


Others aren't so sure of a happy ending.


Dages, who cast the lone vote against the loan guarantee, says he doesn't want to be an "I-told-you-so" guy. But his scowl betrays him.


Says Dages: "We should not be in the business of guaranteeing loans for private investment and private profit."


It's got glamour ...


The scene: Saturday, 10:45 p.m., the sidewalk outside Cabo Wabo Cantina.


Black stretch limousines cruise by. A line of customers snakes along the concrete for half the length of a football field.


A group of well-dressed young women, headed for a party inside the nightclub, is swept through the front door by a bouncer. It's shoulder-to-shoulder in the fenced patio, the roar of chatter and the pounding of beer bottles on outdoor tabletops nearly drowning out the live band inside.


Deep within the cantina, available only to those with special access, $600 shots of tequila are for sale. The outdoor backdrop is a huge mural of a Hagar look-alike raising his arms on a sunny beach as if preaching in favor of sin. And, pointed toward the starless Fresno sky, is the 35-foot-long neon-lit neck of an electric guitar.


"I just want to see what's going on inside," says Marvin Anthony, a 21-year-old California State University, Fresno, student from Tulare, stuck at the end of the line.


Curtis Conley and his wife, Paula, emerge from the nightclub with another couple. Everyone is laughing. The Conleys drove over from Santa Maria to check out Hagar's creation because their hometown doesn't have one.


"It's like a dance and a concert in there, all in one," Paula says.


Adds Curtis: "And a lot of energy."


Energy is what Barbis has promised at Granite Park for more than a decade. He's finally delivering.


All the old promises -- in the late 1990s, for example, it was going to be THEZONE Sportsplex featuring 17 volleyball courts, seven baseball diamonds and a 16-to-20 screen movie theater -- are forgotten.


Barbis says nearly $30 million has already been invested in Granite Park. When it's built out, there will be a hotel, retailers, more restaurants. It'll have a "downtown Disney" ambience, he says.


More than 600 potted trees -- pepper, maple, sycamore, pine, redwood -- are on-site for the forest ecosystem-themed amusement park. The first 20 rides should open next spring, Barbis says.


"Let's face it," Barbis says. "There's a glamour to [Granite Park], and everybody wants to be associated with glamour."


And fields of lost dreams


In December 2004, when it guaranteed the loan, the City Council approved an agreement that guaranteed public access to the athletic fields through 2012.


The city's aim was to spur economic growth in a neighborhood passed over in the city's flight to the north. But, city officials emphasized, it was nearly as important that the foundation provide green space and recreational opportunities in an area woefully short of both.


The agreement gives City Hall the clout to enforce this guarantee. But officials did little while the athletic facilities fell apart or disappeared.


Two of the replica ballfields -- Fenway Park and Wrigley Field -- are nearly unplayable. Foul-line fences are missing. Weeds, dead grass and bare spots mar the outfields. Infields clearly haven't been groomed in a long time.


The third replica ballfield -- AT&T Park -- is fit only for all-terrain vehicles. Five-foot-tall weeds dot the outfield. Home plate lies under a 6-foot-tall mound of dirt.


The scene is equally bleak on what used to be the soccer fields.


Where once there was room for many fields of various sizes, now there's only a modest-sized square of dead grass. The remainder is filled with potted trees, steel supports for amusement rides and storage sheds.


City Manager Souza says the city realized its collateral was wasting away, but had only two options to persuade the foundation to maintain the assets' value: persuasion or foreclosure.


The latter option meant coming up with more than $5 million or taking over loan payments, then either finding more money to bring the assets up to usable shape or trying to sell them in a buyer's market. So, Souza says, City Hall has tried persuasion.


Obviously, Souza adds, it didn't work: "We are where we are."


Barbis says the nonprofit venture failed because concession-stand sales never hit their target, largely because softball players brought their own beer. Corporate sponsorships disappeared. And the city, with its own softball diamonds and soccer fields, was competing with the foundation.


There was no income to repay the loan, let alone maintain the facilities, Barbis says. According to city documents, the foundation lost nearly $370,000 in 2007.


Barbis says investors in The Zone Sports Center, including himself, will never recoup the $4 million they've spent on the fields.


"I wanted the fields to work out," Barbis says. "When something's not working, I could do what a lot of other businesses do -- just fold your tent.


"I'm not that type of guy. I'm going to build something first class. I'm going to bring something to the market here that nobody else has."


And who's left out of all this discussion over the demise of Granite Park Kids Foundation's once-grand vision? The neighborhood residents who were to be its beneficiaries.


Billy Boyajian, 11, lives on Hampton Way, along Granite Park's northern border. He used to play softball at the replica ballparks as part of a church's after-school program.


"I miss it because that was the only time I got to play softball," Billy says.


Irene Kennedy, 67, also lives on Hampton Way. She says it was a blessing to have Granite Park's soccer fields close by because her niece, 10 at the time, played on them.


"I loved to watch her play there," Kennedy says. "And now it's all gone."

The reporter can be reached at ghostetter@fresnobee.com or(559) 441-6272.

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