Laff Trakk Construction Update: 1-16-15

Progress seems to be moving along at a steady pace for Laff Trakk at Hersheypark. Within the last few days, track and supports have arrived for the ride and walls are starting to go up on the Whip-side of the building. Much of the roof for the building has gone up as well.

On a sidenote, according to the Hersheypark website, Tiny Tracks seems to be still listed on their rides page. During Halloween, the map listed it as a Boardwalk attraction, but this time it is listed for Midway America. If this is not a website mistake, the space in Lightning Racer’s former overflow queue would be a perfect spot for it.

Hersheypark is currently running a contest to give people the chance to be one of the first riders on Laff Trakk. You can only enter to win on February 13th, March 13th, April 13th, and May 13th. Be sure to check their Facebook page for more rules and information.

Thanks for reading!

Chris

With the walls going up and a roof over the building, it should make building the actual ride a little easier.

With the walls going up and a roof over the building, it should make building the actual ride a little easier.

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Laff Trakk's track has arrived.

Laff Trakk’s track has arrived.

Quite a bit of track curves laid out.

Quite a bit of track curves laid out.

It wouldn't shock me if most or all of the ride is here.

It wouldn’t shock me if most or all of the ride is here.

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Laff Trakk and Hershey Downtown Center Construction Update: 1-5-14

Happy 2015: the year of Laff Trakk at Hersheypark. None of the ride has shown up yet, but more of the building is starting to take shape. More framework for the walls are starting to go up, the station area looks like it is starting to gain a roof, and the framework for the transfer area seems to be going up. Hard to tell what is happening in front of the building, but it looks like a covered queue will be erected out front next to the path that headed to the Midway Tent (you can actually see construction crews moving a building support into place near one already installed).

Elsewhere in Hershey, construction signs have gone up showing renderings of a building called the Hershey Downtown Center. The Post Office looked to be still open, but there weren’t mail delivery vehicles to be seen like there used to be. Construction should begin soon and the end product will be a building with a more attractive appearance, new food, retail, and business offerings. An Appalachian Brewing Company will be added with a view of the neighboring park.

A new Hershey Company sign has gone up at the former factory. The sign looks like it is in front of the Monorail so it looks like there is a potential for a pretty cool picture of it whizzing past come Spring.

A new Hershey Company sign has gone up at the former factory. The sign looks like it is in front of the Monorail so it looks like there is a potential for a pretty cool picture of it whizzing past come Spring.

No track pieces yet. Shouldn't be long now.

No track pieces yet, but it probably shouldn’t be long now.

I'm guessing what's laying out front in boxes might be siding for the building.

I’m guessing what’s laying out front in boxes might be siding for the building.

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Looks like construction crews might be starting to go vertical with a queue building. You can see a lone beam sticking out in front of Wild Mouse and the crane bringing over a beam on the right.

Looks like construction crews might be starting to go vertical with a queue building. You can see a lone beam sticking out in front of Wild Mouse and the crane bringing over a beam on the right.

I am wondering what the think beams on the side of the building will be? Decorative windows perhaps? That'd look cool.

I am wondering what the think beams on the side of the building will be? Decorative windows perhaps? That’d look cool.

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Looks like the Downtown Center Building will fit in pretty well and give people more to visit in the town.

Looks like the Downtown Center Building will fit in pretty well and give people more to visit in the town.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my Hershey of the Future post for more about the Downtown Center Building and other possible happenings around town.

The Hershey of the Future: A Look at Planned and Possible Building Projects for Hershey.

With the coming of the new year, it is times like these where we look upon what has occurred within the past year and what is to come. With several building projects around Hershey planned for 2015 and beyond, I think now is a great time to take a look at these. Just about all of these are planned to occur, but there are one or two that aren’t, but have the potential to be a project that could bring change to Hershey with more light shed on them in the future

Hersheypark: Laff Trakk Indoor Glow-Roller Coaster

Project Start Date: 9/2/14

Possible Completion Date: May 2015

Starting to go up in Hersheypark’s Midway America section is a building that will house Laff Trakk, the park’s 13th roller coaster. The ride will be the first indoor, spinning, glow roller coaster in the United States.

Laff Trakk, December 2014

Laff Trakk, December 2014

The framework for the building looks mostly erected at this point with the ride itself nowhere to be found as of late. Hersheypark hopes to have the ride open sometime in May 2015. The info page for the coaster lists it as having a 42″ (Reese’s) height requirement, max height requirement of 6′ 5″, and a ride rating of 5.

 

Park Boulevard Realignment Project

Project Start Date: 2016

Possible Completion Date: Unknown

Ever since Parkview Golf Course closed in 2005, there have been rumors on Hersheypark possibly being able to expand across Park Boulevard and into the 130-acre former golf course. You can read more about what CoasterBGW posted in his Hersheypark Over the Next Decade article that goes into more detail on its history, but as of late, the project has been funded and construction is scheduled to start as of early 2016.

The submitted plans appear to show a road heading straight from the Hersheypark parking entrance split and crossing a bridge over the creek. A portion of the existing road will stay to serve as an entrance to Chocolate World and will meet at the new road section as an intersection. Other features include a possible northbound entrance to the park’s parking lot, sidewalks, and the possible opening of public traffic to travel from the Ridge Rd. bridge to Park Ave. (Route 743).

It does seem like something has happened with this project as I have started to spot a series of construction/surveying stakes in between Chocolate World’s entrance and the Hersheypark parking lot split. These have recently showed up within the past few weeks so it could mean that it is still on-track. As someone who frequents this road and knows how busy it can get, I am really looking forward to this one as it could possibly improve traffic after the park or a Bears Hockey game lets out.

On a sidenote, the realignment would add around 30 acres to the area next to the park. Nothing has been said about the park expanding this way as of yet and probably won’t be anytime soon.

Downtown Beauty Enhancement Project

Project Start Date: Spring 2016 (for road re-paving) Beautification: Unknown

Possible Completion Date: Unknown

Within the last few years, the center of downtown Hershey went through a large amount of road improvements with re-routing Cocoa Ave, the construction of a new bridge on Park Ave. over the railroad tracks, the re-do of a portion of Chocolate Ave., and the construction of two underpasses. The aftermath has left a decent portion of open space next to the Hershey Theatre and a nice updated stretch of Chocolate Ave that sticks out from the rest of the town, which hasn’t been updated for years.

In early 2014, the Downtown Hershey Association was created to improve the appearance of downtown as well as the quality of life for its residents. After polling many of the town’s residents, a series of conceptual drawings were made to take a look at what people wanted. Many of these features include new plazas, shaded seating areas, decorative sidewalks, art, and much more.

Downtown Hershey Association Facebook Page

In a recent story posted several weeks ago, it seems that Chocolate Ave. will be re-paved and Derry Township is looking into conducting a study to figure out costs and funding for these beauty enhancements.

Hershey Downtown Center

Project Start Date: January 2015

Possible Completion Date: 2016

In early 2013, the Hershey Trust Co. announced that they were going to sell the property that the Hershey Post Office resides on. The ones who bought it, a group known as the 169 Chocolate Group, plan on renovating the building by changing the facade, bringing in several restaurants, retail businesses and offices. So far Appalachian Brewing Company will open a brewpub in the basement of the building, the retail store for the Post Office will be welcome to return, and the developers say that they have nine tenants that may move in.

Photo from ABC27’s Facebook Page

According to an August article, work is expected to begin this month and the renovation could take about a year to do. It is also mentioned that new buildings could be added for more space in a second phase that could begin within the next two years.

Chocolate Factory Site Redevelopment

Project Start Date: Unknown

Possible Completion Date: Unknown

In 2012, the Hershey Company moved its production to its West Hershey plant and vacated much of the building. After trying to find a buyer to re-use the former factory to no avail, the newer section of the building was torn down and much of the former section was renovated into office space for the company. According to the developer for the site, Tim Harrison, he is considering an area mixed of restaurants, retail, and entertainment for the area that was demolished. It was also mentioned that parking structures could be added to get parking under control as well. As of August 2014, there haven’t been anything official on what could happen with the site.

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Near the former factory, the cocoa bean silos that dominate much of the skyline are available for renovation. They were bought in 2012 for $100,000 by a group of four families who want to preserve the silos, seek a developer, and renovate them into condos, a hotel, or some other form of venue.