Multimillion-dollar adventure park set to become destination point

Published: Wednesday, May 28 2014 10:40 a.m. MDT

Part of the model of the adventure park "Evermore" that is anticipated to open in Pleasant Grove in 2015-16.

Curtis Hickman, Evermore Park

LINDON — This isn't the first time Ken Bretschneider has turned a dream into a reality.

He's already successfully launched two businesses and made enough money to invest in what he he believes will be "the world's first true adventure park."

To be located on 45 acres at about 1740 W. 700 South, off I-15 in Pleasant Grove, "Evermore" is to be a combination fantasy land and adventure park, staffed by professional actors who will help visitors immerse themselves into stories, mystery and magic.

"We know people are very excited about this idea," Bretschneider said. "We're excited. This will be something unique."

Bretschneider and his planning staff of 11, including Patrick Kendall as the lead concept artist; Jordan Colton, project coordinator; Curtis Hickman, director; and Cory Clawson, master sculptor; are currently working around the clock on turning their ideas into reality.

They're focusing on an opening date next summer for the first phase of the project.

"The city is aware of and planning for this. We've reviewed a concept plan. We are waiting for the site plan," said Ken Young, community development director for Pleasant Grove.

In a work session where city planners reviewed Bretschneider's proposal, Pleasant Grove Mayor Mike Daniels said the park will likely attract additional businesses and venues to the city. Council members said it's an exciting project for Pleasant Grove.

"We're dead serious about this," Hickman said. "This is going to happen."

Hickman said the plans for the first phase include an active town square for concerts, theme shops and entertainment, three unique restaurants, a three-acre man-made lake with a wrecked ghost ship attraction, dory boats and canoes, lush gardens with fantastical sculptures, a "Fairy Quest" forest, a castle and an old church with catacombs.

Phases two and three will incorporate a multi-level hotel and theater that can feature major productions, even a Cirque de Solei-type show as well as a variety of additional attractions, including caves, a splash pad and a mermaid/dive pool.

He said eventually the park will employ upwards of 700 people as village actors and staff.

"Essentially, every person involved will be an actor, always in character," Hickman said. "One cool thing, we'll have lots of illusions, audio-visual effects, high-end costuming and makeup and human puppetry all designed to suspend belief."

During the fall, the park will become a Halloween attraction with several major haunts and in the winter, Evermore will become a lighted fantasy Christmas spectacular, including a Dickens-style festival in the town square with an old-fashioned ice skating rink, Bretschneider said.

"We plan to have millions of Christmas lights," Bretschneider said.

Bretschneider said he's already invested and committed nearly $20 million toward the park. Additional capital is being raised through a sale of private equity, including the proposed hotel, he said, estimating the total project coming in at $170 million.

Bretschneider said he hopes to have something more than an amusement park with rides. He envisions three major "seasons" for the park: a summer fest featuring "The Carnival of Wonders," an autumn fest featuring "Ripper's Cove," and a winter fest featuring "An Evermore Christmas."

"We're thinking way outside the box. It's not typical. Everything has a fantasy twist," Bretschneider said. "There are so many facets, lots of different things happening. I believe so much in the project.

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