Dorney Park has recieved the go-ahead to add Invertago for 2012.
One commissioner even questioned the need for making the amusement park operator appear before the board for approval for each ride it adds or changes.
The 138-foot tall ride will be reconditioned before being put into service at Dorney and will take the place of the double-loop Laser, a coaster that was removed in 2008 after 22 years. The location is in the northwest area of the park near Lincoln Drive.» Northampton area community updates delivered to your mobile phone. Text NORTHAMPTON to 52270! Message and data rates apply. Text STOP NORTHAMPTON to quit, text HELP for info
Park officials have not announced the name of the of the ride, though images shown in the plans proposed to the township show the Invertigo ride from Great America in California.
“Under the new zoning ordinance this is a replacement ride,” Dorney Park attorney Joseph Bubba said. “It’s in compliance with zoning; it’s in compliance with the overlay district.”
Commissioner Thomas Johns questioned why park officials must return to the board repeatedly to make changes to the lay of the park.
The township and Dorney Park developed a document after roughly 15 years of debate and negotiation determining when officials would have to appear before commissioners. Township solicitor Blake Marles said park operators probably don’t really need to come before the board each time unless their proposal violates performance criteria or traffic, water or sewer issues arise.
Under the regulations, the park is subject to special requirements that restrict the height of rides based on property elevation. The regulations also oversee noise, music and lighting so neighboring residents will not be disturbed by activities there. The peak of the 138 foot-tall coaster will be at a mean sea level of 450 feet, well below the permitted maximum elevation of 540 feet.
“It’s as low in the park and as centrally located as possible,” Bubba said. “The park is well aware of what the performance criteria are.”
Walnut Street resident Gary Ward said the local homeowners group he is part of is always concerned about the impact of the neighborhood, but the group is not concerned with the new addition.
The ride will be on 1.7 acres of the 187-acre property. Park officials have said the ride is modest in comparison with bigger coasters at the park, like Steel Force. Coaster riders will face each other and be suspended below the track. The ride will invert four times.
“We’re real excited about this ride; it’s a new experience for our guests,” park manager Jason McClure said. “It’s a nice thrill ride.”
To make way for the coaster, several kiddie rides have been removed, as well as a basketball game, concrete midways and a portion of a paved service drive. The ride is expected to open in 2012.
Sarah Fulton is a freelance writer