Lagoon already has a bonanza of rides that spin, twirl, flip, twist and swing thrill seekers. Now it hopes to add a new type of attraction that's the latest craze in amusement parks - a $3 million rocket and drop tower ride.
Before owners can offer such a thrill, however, they will have to survive the tumultuous roller coaster of the Farmington City Council, to whom the Planning Commission referred the matter Thursday night.The referral does include a unanimous recommendation for approval from the commission, and only minimal citizen opposition. But past experience has taught the commission to allow the elected City Council to make final decisions on anything which could have a serious impact on the city.
Because the 207-foot-high ride exceeds the 150-foot-high limit Farmington has imposed on Lagoon, it requires a special exemption from the city.
"Something this big, with this much impact, needs another look," said commission member Lance Samuelson.
Although only four residents spoke against the new ride, their primary concerns were noise and disruption of the Farmington skyline.
"Lagoon needs to have a new ride, but I need to live in my house," said Steve Christensen, one of the park's closest neighbors.
Christensen noted that the park had made great efforts to reduce noise, and that current attractions didn't impose any more than expected. Still, he said, every summer night is usually filled with screaming teenagers, loud music and bright lights.
Park representatives said this ride, which will likely be manufactured in Logan, is similar to the "Big Shot" on Las Vegas' Stratosphere Hotel. They said it will make very little noise. Also, despite the height, the ride is only 7 square feet, so it will take up much less skyline than existing rides.
"We try to address all of the issues," said Lagoon President Dave Freed. "We think this will essentially be hidden from Farmington."
The new tower ride will be the tallest structure in the park, towering over the 180-foot Sky Coaster.
The ride will feature two options, one on each tower, Freed said. One launches passengers sitting in a row of seats straight up and down, while the other slowly raises passengers to the top of the tower and then quick-drops them.
According to Freed, the park wasn't expecting to have a new major attraction next year. After spending more than $10 million in the past four years to add four new major rides - the Wild Mouse, Rattlesnake Rapids, the Top Eliminator and the Sky Coaster - 1999 was supposed to be an off-year for Lagoon.
However, an attractive offer from ride manufacturers changed that situation.
"These rides have really swept the nation," Freed said. California's Knott's Berry Farm opened three such rides this year.
The new ride will be located where the Flying Aces now sits. The Aces will be moved elsewhere.
The City Council is expected to consider the application during its Oct. 7 meeting.