GREEN BAY - For the first time in more than four years, Green Bay officials have updated the vision for Bay Beach Amusement Park.
The plan includes major changes broken into three phases. The first is a 10-year, $11 million expansion. The second and third would cost $9 million and focus on infrastructure improvements.
Green Bay's city council is expected to vote on the plan this week.
"It's an exciting plan that really fits with who we are," said Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt.
"The faster the money comes in, the quicker we can build out the park," said David Charles, the president of the Friends of Bay Beach.
Friends of Bay Beach will collect donations to help pay for half of the improvements. The other half will come from park revenue.
"There were years that we had to go to the taxpayer to help fund the park and that won't happen either," said Schmitt. "The revenues, the business plan is there that its sustainable, quality maintenance, plus expansion."
Phase 1 of the plan is broken into five two-year segments. The first is set to start with the addition of the Sea Dragon ride. City leaders are still negotiating to buy the ride. With a price tag of about $670,000, the goal is to have the family-friendly ride installed before the park closes for the season in September.
"Right away the revenue that is generated by this ride will go right back into improving the park," said Dawne Cramer, the director of Green Bay's parks department.
The first two years of the plan also call for the train route to change. Right now it goes east along the bay and loops back to the depot. The route design wouldn't change, but instead of heading east, it would head west, past the big slide and toward the roller coaster. The route would loop underneath the Zippin Pippin. The roller coaster was designed with this plan in mind.
The plan also calls for $750,000 to build a new shelter on the west end of the park.
"We've had a high demand for corporations to rent areas like that for large company picnics, so that's another one of our goals," said Cramer.
Years three and four plan for a million dollars to be spent on another major ride. City officials say it could end up being a new, larger Ferris wheel. A destination playground, which would require tickets, is also planned.
In 2017 and '18, two more rides are scheduled to arrive at the park: The Dragon Kiddie Coaster and Jumping Star Tot Ride. One million dollars is also slotted for a boardwalk, with the possible return of a swimming beach.
Beyond the first six years, one or two more rides, an ice rink and an outdoor dining terrace are also planned before 2022.
Park leaders say as long as the funding is in place, the plans should move ahead.
"I think its going to be a very popular cause for the community and it's a nice long-term investment. Any money they put in it will be here helping year after year after year," said Charles.
City officials predict the improvements could increase the annual amount of visitors to 800,000 by 2022. In 2012, it was 500,000. In that same time, they expect annual ridership to increase by nearly two million.
Gross revenue is also projected to rise by more than $2.5 million: from $2.4 million in 2012 to $4 million in 2022.
"I think this is kind of what you work for when you come to these projects is something that's self sustaining, more of an enterprise fund, where the revenues are put back into expand it and increase money to keep the park the quality park it is," said Schmitt.
With all the long-term plans, one thing that won't be changing is ticket prices. They'll stay at 25 cents a piece.
City leaders hope all three phases will be done in 15 years. They say without the donation pledges from the Friends of Bay Beach, the plan would likely take 25 years.
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