Haven't seen this yet, so I thought I'd post. Looks like Paramount will assume
management of Bonfante Gardens for the next five years. Many things can be
said regarding the decision, but I know many local people are just glad that it
will remain open.
Parent company of Paramount's Great America to manage Bonfante Gardens
By the Mercury News
The board of directors of Bonfante Gardens Family Theme Park and C***te,
N.C.-based Paramount Parks today announced an agreement in which Paramount
Parks will assume management of Gilroy's Bonfante Gardens.
Paramount Parks is the parent company of Great America in Santa Clara.
The contract approved by Bonfante Gardens' board states that Paramount Parks
will oversee complete management of Bonfante Gardens and will provide strategic
guidance to Bonfante Gardens on financial decisions and long-range planning.
``We were looking for the best in the business and Paramount Parks was clearly
the right choice,'' said Bob Kraemer, chairman of the board for Bonfante
Gardens. ``We are delighted that our management contract with Paramount Parks
will allow us to be true to our mission of entertaining young families and
garden lovers and educating them about horticulture and its contribution to our
Bonfante Gardens is a 600-acre park features ornate gardens, unique trees and
22 rides, including small roller coasters and an antique carousel, all aimed at
drawing families with young children, retirees and gardeners.
It was the 25-year dream of founder Michael Bonfante, the former Nob Hill
supermarket executive who sold his family's grocery chain and issued bonds
through the city of Gilroy to raise $100 million for the park and indulge his
passion for trees.
The Gilroy theme park has struggled financially. Cost overruns and high debt
forced the park to end its first season in September, 2001, more than three
A second season was in doubt until Fry's Electronics owner John Fry came
through in February 2002 with an $8.5 million loan.
But that money was quickly spent paying off creditors and completing unfinished
Park officials refused to say how many people came during the first two years
The park was built to handle an expected 800,000 visitors a year and needed at
least 500,000 to stay on top of its costs.
"I must be in the FRONT row." - Bob Uecker