Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Miracle Strip Plans Move, Expansion, + Coaster

The "new" Miracle Strip amusement park, formally known as Miracle Strip at Pier Park, has been so successful that they're running out of room in their desire to add new rides.

We've been following the progress of this little-park-that-could since they first added Miracle Strip's original Carousel in 2008.  The park's location is in the center of a enormous retail mall just next to the ocean in Panama City.  In 2010 the park added a couple additional rides and has been steadily expanding since.  Just recently the park opened two fully restored vintage kiddie rides.

In fact, here is how the park looks currently.  Well, almost currently as the two new kiddie rides aren't quite on here yet.  They are both from Alan Herschell, a car ride from 1949 and a boat ride from 1969.

As you can see, the park only has a bit of space left to build anything more, and then they're stuck.  Well, that's all about to change it appears - the park has received a condition use from the city to use 10 acres of land - located about 200 feet from the current location - to move their park and build additional rides.

This article about the expansion plans lists the address for the new plot, which can be seen above.  The current park is in the upper left, the large green area in the center is the new space.  Directly below the new area is the beach.

The owners of the mall expressed concern over the plans, however the council went ahead and approved the plan with some conditions, like having no rides taller than 81 feet, keeping a similar design aesthetic to the current park, and not infringing on other local businesses.

Starliner at Cypress Gardens
The height limit is important because one of Miracle Strip's main plans for the space is to be able to rebuild the Starliner roller coaster.  The park owns the ride's pieces, but estimate spending $2.5 to $3 million to construct the coaster.  It sounds like a similar plan to the Zippin Pippin, which was rebuilt as a recreation of the original ride.  The John Allen ride stood at the original Miracle Strip until it was moved to Cypress Gardens in 2007.  It was dismantled when that park became Legoland Florida.

The new park would also feature a large sprayground area for kids, and a "52 foot tall iconic lighthouse attraction with a working signal light and viewing deck."  The owners describe the new-new Miracle Strip as a "park with amusements," not the other way around.

If all goes well the new park will open with their existing eleven rides in 2014, and the coaster could come on board as soon as 2015.  I'm excited for the park, and hope everything goes as planned!