News: Lake Compounce waterpark expansion moving ahead

News: Lake Compounce waterpark expansion moving ahead

Post by Jimvi » Wed, 02 Aug 2006 22:13:00

coaster on indefinite hold.

Road move leading to bigger water park
By Jackie Majerus, The Bristol Press

SOUTHINGTON -- Plans by Lake Compounce to move Mount Vernon Road to make way
for a water park expansion are getting closer to reality, and the park's
general manager said construction on the project could begin in the spring.

Manager Jerry Brick said Monday the park intends to spend $3 million to move
the road that intersects park property about 400 feet east to create about 8
more acres of usable land along the lake, where they will build more slides
and other water attractions.

"Our goal is to develop it all," said Brick. But he said it will be done in
steps, not all at once.

Next season, Lake Compounce is adding a new classic car ride that will put
park visitors in the driver's seat of a 1956 Corvette. The track will run
near the Zoomerang steel coaster on the north end of the park.

Even though Lake Compounce has expanded its water park area several times
already, it continues to be the biggest draw at the park, according to

"It's still packed in there," said Brick.

He hasn't ordered any slides or other water park attractions yet for the
next expansion, but Brick said, "I've been talking to designers."

There isn't any point in ordering anything yet, said Brick, because the
offerings are constantly changing -- even faster than manufacturers can
crank out new thrill rides.

"They're advancing more rapidly than the amu***t park sector," said Brick.

Brick said he will probably put in an order for the new water park area as
the new section of Mount Vernon Road -- which turns into Lake Avenue at the
Bristol town line -- is built, which he said may be about 18 months from
now. He said he will likely order slides and other attractions that dump
into pools, not directly into the lake, as several slides already do.

"Once we get this going, I'm going to concentrate strictly on water," said

The lakeside water park expansion would not impact the train that takes
passengers part of the way around the lake, according to Brick. He said he
might add a second train to the track to increase rider capacity.

Most of the trees in the wooded area east of the lake earmarked for the
expansion would be taken down to make way for the new water park, said
Brick, and replaced by landscaping.

"We're looking to keep the trees along the lake," said Brick.

In May, the park won approvals from Southington land use boards to put up a
new roller coaster on the west side of the lake, between the Boulder Dash
wooden mountain coaster and the Thunder River Rapids ride.

But Brick said the coaster plans were put in motion when it seemed the road
project was stalled in a lengthy approvals process with the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers.

"We went through planning and zoning and wetlands and all that," said Brick.
"At that point, we were making no progress with the Army Corps."

Now that the road project is moving forward, Brick said, the coaster is on
hold -- possibly for many years. He said construction on the new road would
start next spring, with completion by about Thanksgiving.

While construction is under way, said Brick, the old road will be in use
until the last week or two, when the piece that connects the new road to the
old is completed. During that week or two, Brick said, part of the road will
be a single lane.

Even with the new road finished a year from this fall, Brick said lowering
the grade of the park in that area to the lake level will take time. Barring
any unforeseen problems, Brick said, new water attractions probably can't be
added until 2009 or even 2010.

The new water area can't come soon enough for Brick.

"Our immediate need is water park," said Brick. "I feel we're very close on
this [road]. I need water before I need anything else. The family loves the
water park."

Brick said the coaster approval isn't specific to a certain type of ride and
is good for 10 years, so it can wait while work proceeds on the road and
water park.

"We were shopping" for a new, custom-made steel coaster that would fit into
the mountain, said Brick. It would have a moderate, initial lift hill of 40
to 50 feet, "nothing crazy," said Brick. "We're looking for something that
families can ride together."

Boulder Dash and the Zoomerang have lift hills of 120 feet each, Brick said,
and the one on the Wildcat is 85 feet.

Brick said the coaster could be added after the water park -- or not at all.

"It may not even go in," said Brick. "It may not even happen."