GREEN BAY - In 2010, Mike Bauer wasn't keen on the city's plan buy a roller coaster for nearly $4 million.
And Bauer doesn't even live in Green Bay.
"I was very doubtful that they would really recoup the expenditure – I didn't think it made sense," said Bauer of De Pere.
But nearly 2 1/2 years later?
"I think it's a great draw for the community now," said Bauer of the Zippin Pippin. "And I'm glad to say I was wrong."
Most 12-year-olds, like Alexis Gonzalez and Amber Westergaard of Green Bay, would probably agree.
"I like riding it, it's so much fun for me!" said Gonzalez.
"Because it's one of the most funnest rides here, in my opinion," said Westergaard.
In the coming days, someone will become the one-millionth rider on the Zippin Pippin roller coaster at Bay Beach Amusement Park.
That number exceeds the city's expectations of 200,000 riders per year.
"It's completely exceeded our expectations and what it would do," said Jason Arnoldi, the park's assistant manager.
Arnoldi says park revenue is on track with last year, even with cooler weather this past May.
"You know, we're right where we expect to be, and a lot of time, when you add a new attraction – especially one as successful as this – In the coming years, it tends to drop off," said Arnoldi.
But the increased ridership doesn't mean the roller coaster will be paid off any sooner.
"We can only pay what's due that given year," explained Arnoldi. "We can't add more on to the payment."
Despite the inability to pay the roller coaster bonding off early, Arnoldi says the extra revenue from the ride allows the city's parks department to use those funds in other areas of the park – like preparing the Sea Dragon ride.
Purchased this last spring for more than $670,000, Arnoldi says the ride is on track for installation this fall, just to the southwest of the Pippin.
So who's going to be the millionth person to ride the coaster? Well that's up in the air. Arnoldi says the park has some awards in store for whoever that may be, but he wouldn't say what they might be.
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