Thursday, August 07, 2003

Coming Soon: Six Flags Love Canal

In an unusual move, Six Flags Inc., which has a reputation for buying underperforming properties and seeking to turn them around, has signed a purchase and sale agreement for approximately 124 acres in Love Canal in New York. The site is renowned world wide as the recipient of the first Superfund, the largest federal hazardous waste cleanup in history.

"This purchase represents a significant step forward for our neighborhood," said Marcy Turcotte, a long time resident. "We bought our house here knowing that there was nowhere to go but up. I mean, living on a toxic waste dump was a good financial move but there really was nothing to do around here. Now we'll have Six Flags. I think they'll fit right in."

A representative from Six Flags, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said this would be a challenge for the chain. "Unlike most parks we've purchased, this one is just a plot of land. So this will be our first property built from the ground up. But we're confident we've got a hit with Love Canal. It's a name with high recognition. We think it will dovetail nicely with the Six Flags brand. The site, right next to Niagara Falls, is a prime tourist area."

In 1978, Love Canal gained notoriety when toxic waste from years of dumping in the 3000-foot-long canal began surfacing in residents' backyards. The government proclaimed the area habitable after ten years of clean-up. Six Flags plans to incorporate a water park in the canal itself.

"There are some great ideas on the drawing boards," the representative said. "As with our other properties, we really want to focus on the local identity." Among the thrill rides being considered is a suspended looping roller coaster by Vekoma themed to Spiderman. "Spiderman is a great tie-in, since Peter Parker was a victim of radiation poisoning," the representative continued. Other attractions will include an interactive simulation ride through a nuclear reactor that melts down and a stunt show based upon the popular comic book character Toxic Avenger. If approved by local councils, Six Flags hopes to have the park ready for the 30th anniversary of the Love Canal incident.

Six Flags Inc. currently owns two other properties in the state: The Great Escape in Lake George and Six Flags Darien Lake in Darien Center. When asked whether three Six Flags parks within a few hours drive of each other were too much, the representative responded, "You can never have too much Six Flags."


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