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Six Flags buys another park... kinda

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Published: August 1, 2007 at 10:20 PM

Being a SoCal person, forgive me for forgetting details about NorCal's parks from time to time. Such as... the fact that Six Flags didn't actually own its Bay Area park, now known as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

The city of Vallejo co-owned it, collecting revenue and maintaining debt as a result. Until today. Six Flags today completed a $55 million buy-out that gives the park complete ownership of the park, located northeast of San Francisco.

The deal allows Vallejo to wipe out its largest source of municipal debt, according to a local news report. And it allows Six Flags to hold on to all the revenue generated by the park.

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on August 2, 2007 at 6:04 AM
A City owning a park? Does that happen often?

It might be a good revenue for a city! I never thought of it that way.

From Bradley Robertson on August 2, 2007 at 7:50 AM
Anthony,

I have read about several parks in the New York and New Jersey area that are owned by the municipalities. I don't live in that are so I can't confirm this. In this case it seems like a win-win. In this case Vallejo doesn't have to deal with debt or liability and Six Flags keeps all the revenue. I haven't visited this park, but maybe this will create the impetus to overhaul the park like they have been saying they have been/are doing to their other parks since the new management has taken over.

From Jack Williams on August 2, 2007 at 10:45 AM
Wow, I didn't know that it didn't officially own the park. I mean, living in the bay area, that's the closest park to me, and in the past it had all the typical Six Flags stuff hanging around.
Very interesting.
From Mike West on August 2, 2007 at 1:39 PM
Surprises me too!
I wonder if decisions would have played out differently in the past. Like the ruining of V2 Vertical Veloscity & its' height, when they turned the spiral into a corkscrew. A decision I always fear will be a bad one when someone's harness fails to do something it wasn't intended to(hold them when the vehicle slows to an inverted stop repeatedly).
Or the fact that their parking is a 1/2 mile away(even the disabled?)
They do have the only worthwhile floorless though. Medusa really rocks!I'll give them that.
Hopefully now that the"safety scissor city hands" are off it will allow SF to do its handywork. COASTERS!
There are internal rumors that they are trying to buy the lagoon for a super coaster addition, & there's the location at the front which housed the shortlived Zonga(was never opened on any day I went)
Go figure Theme Parks, making such an investment in a time when they'd actually consider closing Magic Mountain.
Kinda like Cedar buying Paramounts, then trying to dump themselves.
From Ryan L on August 2, 2007 at 5:11 PM
I certainly do hope that this means some new, and much needed, additions to SFDK.
From Bruce Lane on August 2, 2007 at 6:52 PM
There's actually some more history to this.

When the park was still Marine World/Africa USA, and still owned by the Marine World Foundation (with Mike Demetrios having the primary controlling interest), the arrangement with the city of Vallejo was essentially the same: They loaned the foundation (and thus the park) big bucks, and were also granted controlling interest that would persist until the debt was paid off.

When the original park started to go downhill, the MWF ended up defaulting on the loan. The only way the people involved could get out of the situation with their skins (and bank accounts) reasonably intact was to, essentially, sign the entire park over to the city.

Since the City of Vallejo had not the slightest clue about how to run an oceanarium/wildlife park combo, they started looking for a buyer who (supposedly) knew what they were doing. This, if I recall correctly, is where Sick Flags stepped in.

I'm sad to say that the current park is a horrible travesty of what it once was. I still believe it would be better for the few animals that remain (and, most likely, the park's attendance figures) if they would simply send the rest of said critters to proper facilities at other oceanariums and zoos, and finish turning the place into JATP (Just Another Thrill Park).

I would add that the park will still likely be a revenue source for the city of Vallejo, in the form of property taxes.

Happy travels.

From Marc Ricketts on August 2, 2007 at 9:09 PM
Anthony, the city of Santa Clara briefly owned Great America as well. I believe it was after Marriott, which owned it from the start. Paramount then owned it for quite a while before the current Cedar Fair; don't think I left anyone out. I do prefer Discovery Marine Kingdom World better though, even with the longer drive and bridge toll for us. Most of the rides beyond coasters are of little interest to me at either park nowadays, and the environs are more pleasant in Vallejo. Plus, if you give enough time to watching the animals, you'll usually see at least one cool thing happen.

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