Friday, May 8, 2009

Quassy Receives Approval for Ambitious Multi-Year Plan

It's official! After months of meetings, many of which were punctuated by complaints from a small but very vocal contingent of neighbors, the Middlebury Planning and Zoning Commission has approved the expansion plan proposed by Quassy Amusement Park earlier this year. According to a press release issued by the park, the three-year, $5 million plan is the largest in Quassy's 101-year history. In addition to miscellaneous equipment and infrastructure upgrades, the plan includes the addition of a family wooden roller coaster, a drop tower, and a ProSlide Bullet Bowl water slide.

For all that it is gaining, Quassy will be forced to bid adieu to its Allan Herschell Company Wild Mouse coaster, known as the Mad Mouse. This classic ride, which has been operating at Quassy since 1983, has simply become too difficult to maintain and the park's management felt that it was time to usher in a new era of family coaster thrills. At this point it is unknown whether the coaster will be sold or scrapped, but the plan is to keep it in place until the completion of the new wooden coaster.

While some of the details have yet to be ironed out, here is what we know so far about Quassy's three new rides.

Family Wooden Roller Coaster

  • Designer: The Gravity Group (Proposals were received from at least four other coaster manufacturers.)

  • Stats: Length 1200ft, Height 35ft, Max Drop 40ft, Max Speed 35mph

  • Train: One 3-car train with a 12-person capacity proposed, but manufacturer TBD so this could change

  • Location: The station will be located near the Big Flush, with the lift hill constructed on the old entrance road to the park. The coaster will run behind the Grand Carousel and then cross over the park's train tracks.

  • Name: TBD via a naming contest among local and area schools

  • Tentative Opening Date: TBD, but construction could begin as early as this year

  • First Rides: A First Ride Auction will be held with proceeds benefitting Connecticut Public Television (CPTV), Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Food Bank.

  • Feel-Good Fact: The coaster's design allows for the tree line along both sides of the park's old entrance road to be preserved.

Drop Tower
  • Manufacturer: TBD, but it will most likely be the SBF Visa Group of Italy

  • Stats: 35ft high with a 12-person circular seating arrangement

  • Location: Near the Grand Carousel, where the park's former ticket booth was located

  • Tentative Opening Date: 2010

Bullet Bowl Water Slide
  • Manufacturer: ProSlide Technology of Canada

  • Location: Where the Mad Mouse currently stands. The new slide will be part of Quassy's Saturation Station interactive family water play area.

  • Tentative Opening Date: TBD, but presumably after the completion of the wooden coaster as the park does not plan to remove the Mad Mouse until that time.

While most of us are content to cheer at this wonderful news and lick our chops in anticipation of our first rides on that new woodie, Quassy's owners stress that this ambitious plan is necessary in order to secure the park's future. Co-owner George Frantzis II stated, "It’s not so much an expansion plan as it is updating. We’re investing in the future of the property. These projects are necessary for us to remain competitive, and in the amusement park business you have to feature a family roller coaster." It's this level of foresight and determination that has kept Quassy viable, successful, and most importantly loved over the past 101 years. Let the countdown begin!