Archive | April, 2010

Plans for Aquatic-Themed Amusement Park Scuttled due to Economic Downturn

13 Apr

The Death of a Dream.

By Brendan Steinbitter, Special to the Associated Press

DENVER (AP)–It was to offer a formidable challenge the reigning royalty of Denver family entertainment, Elitch’s, The Downtown Aquarium, and Lakeside Amusement Park.  The blueprints called for a massive parcel of land six miles east of downtown to be transformed from rolling windswept hills of switch grass into a singular marquee attraction meant to draw visitors from all over the world.  It was to be the Jewel of the Front Range.

The vision, staggering in scope, called for the following amenities:

  • A 720-room luxury hotel with full casino and wedding chapel.
  • Four restaurants of varying styles.
  • Two motels of lesser luxury.
  • An amusement park with thrill rides galore, including several rollercoasters and a Matterhorn.
  • Two seven-acre fishing lakes featuring free cane poles and stink bait.
  • Seven uniquely-themed karaoke bars.
  • An 8,000 square foot soundstage for the performance and broadcast of a weekly radio/XM variety show.
  • One five million gallon aquarium.
  • A towering 72-foot tall water/mud slide.
  • “Bottom Feeder Experience,” an interactive guest excursion featuring transparent submarines trolling the murky lower churns of the fishing lakes.
  • One trailer park.

But like so many dreams before, it was all for naught. The Great Recession stopped “CatfishDenver Mud Park Resort” cold in its tracks.  While city powers did give enthusiastic approval of the idea mainly due to the economic impact and forecast creation of an estimated 10,000 jobs, there were budgetary concerns as far back as the planning stages.

“We had earmarked around $700 for the initial construction budget, but soon found that we’d need a bit more.  The generous and wealthy government of Louisiana offered a $2 billion high-interest adjustable rate loan which we were more than happy to receive; however, political influences beyond our control ended with the State of Louisiana’s retraction of the offer.  Apparently the powers-that-be were pretty upset over the University of Colorado backing out of the 2011/2012 home-and-home football agreement with LSU.  Colorado bumped LSU so they could play Fresno State instead.  There was no way Louisiana would or could support a Colorado-based catfish them park after such a grave insult,” said the despondent Chairman of The CatfishDenver Mud Park Steering Committee.  “We knew we were generously coated with milk and corn meal then deep-fried to a deliciously crispy golden brown hue after that.  All was lost.  But we will all be Fresno State fans for a couple of Saturdays in 2011 and 2012, I can tell you that.”

“With our plans in shambles and our vision forever unrealized, we came to the conclusion that the only thing left to do, the only thing that would make us forget this doomed experience, the only thing that would reaffirm all that we hold dear, would be to go forward with…

THE EIGHTH ANNUAL DENVER CATFISH FESTIVAL.”

Saturday, July 24th, 2010
First Filet Hits Oil at 1:12 PM MDT
The Denver Catfish Festival Grounds
3156 Geneva St.
Denver, CO 80238

Sincerely,
Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me About the Eighth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

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