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.

 

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Chocolate World Construction Update: 5-6-14

With the summer season only days away from beginning, work over at Chocolate World appears to be slowly coming to a close. While the construction walls haven’t all come down yet, work on the other side of them seems to be just about finished.

Poor KitKat Andriod is now resting in the far corner of the Dessert Studio.

Poor KitKat Android is now resting in the far corner of the Dessert Studio.

The Dessert Studio still has the Tour Ride queue running through it, but once you enter the hallway, things change. Wooden floors have been added, the former rainforest area is now a level switchback queue area with brick walls and large windows overlooking the new retail area (that half is still blocked off).

The former fire exit hallway now has some new lighting and wooden flooring.

The former fire exit hallway now has some new lighting and wooden flooring.

Check out the spiffy new queue area! Looking sharp!

Check out the spiffy new queue area! Looking sharp!

Looks like there's not much left to do in the retail area.

Looks like there’s not much left to do in the retail area.

Here's a peek of the new entrance ramp.

Here’s a peek of the new entrance ramp.

The area across the hallway seems to be coming along nicely.

The area across the hallway seems to be coming along nicely.

Should be interesting to see what details will be added.

Should be interesting to see what details will be added.

Out with the old, crappy wooden railings from the 70's and in with the new, clean, metal ones.

Out with the old, crappy wooden railings from the 70’s and in with the new, clean, metal ones.

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A small section of the old mural is still there.

A small section of the old mural is still there.

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Many of the walls have been painted or are currently being painted and the only thing left from the original harbor mural are a few pelicans along a far-back wall.

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Can’t wait to see what details will be added to the queue as it already looks really nice so far.

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

A Taste of Spring: Hersheypark, Zoo, and Chocolate World Off-Season Update 3/8/14

Been awhile since the last update, but to make up for it my friend Matt, who came up from Maryland, and I decided to check out Chocolate World, walk up to ZooAmerica, walk around the rest of the perimeter of the park back to Chocolate World. The warm weather offered a small taste of spring, but we still have a few weeks left in the off-season until the park opens. Here is a summary on what we saw:

Chocolate World:

-Much of the former queue line is torn up, but it looks like the new entrance and exit are starting to come together.

Hersheypark:

– The Ticketing building in Tram Circle is progressing. There are stacks of bricks sitting next to the construction area.

– Tudor Square’s restroom building is still being worked on.

– The older Hollow Games building is gone.

– Coal Cracker’s 2nd lift is the rehab section of the year.

– One of the Monorail’s trains is parked next to the ride’s storage building with a new paint job. No deals are visible on the exterior of the train.

– Parts of the old Six Flags Magic Mountain Metro trains are sitting in the area between Roller Soaker’s station and the fence.

ZooAmerica: (I haven’t been here for a few months so some of the improvements may not be recent, but they are more or less a year new).

– A cottonmouth snake is now on display in the Southern Swamps building.

– The prairie dogs are now out and had to contend to a squirrel trying to eat their food.

– A Black-billed magpie exhibit has been built near the elk and Watering Hole.

– Buddy, the pronghorn, who has arrived at the zoo a few months ago, is located in the former bison enclosure and seems to be pretty sociable.

Walls are starting to go up next to the entrance ramp.

Walls are starting to go up next to the entrance ramp.

The flooring tiles on the entrance stairs have been ripped up.

The flooring tiles on the entrance stairs have been ripped up.

As of right now, this room and the space at the top of the stairs to the ride form an L-shape.

As of right now, this room and the space at the top of the stairs to the ride form an L-shape.

The area at the top of the ride stairs now has walls.

The area at the top of the ride stairs now has walls.

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There is an opening at the top of the entrance stairs going to the top of the former exit.

There is an opening at the top of the entrance stairs going to the top of the former exit.

Looks like things are progressing nicely. I am betting that the new retail area is in the far background, the possible new entrance ramp fro the ride in the center, and the new exit in the foreground.

Looks like things are progressing nicely. I am betting that the new retail area is in the far background, the possible new entrance ramp from the ride in the center, and the new exit in the foreground.

Nothing really new to see here, moving on.

Nothing really new to see here, moving on.

Naked Intamin Skyrush  trains: we need a censor bar on this somewhere.

Naked Intamin Skyrush trains: we need a censor bar on this somewhere.

The Hollow Games building is gone and ready for concrete and the two new rides.

The Hollow Games building is gone and ready for concrete and the two new rides.

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Coal Cracker rehab is progressing nicely.

Coal Cracker rehab is progressing nicely.

Here is a close-up of the top of the Kissing Tower.

Here is a close-up of the top of the Kissing Tower.

The tunnel under Park Blvd. is open, but people still seem to want to cross the road instead of using it.

The tunnel under Park Blvd. is open, but people still seem to want to cross the road instead of using it.

The cottonmouth exhibit.

The cottonmouth exhibit.

The bobcats are tuckered out.

The bobcats are tuckered out.

Same with the otters.

Same with the otters.

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The prairie dogs are out and have to deal with a visitor.

The prairie dogs are out and have to deal with a visitor.

They aren't too thrilled with the squirrel.

They aren’t too thrilled with the squirrel.

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A black-billed magpie exhibit has shown up near the Elk.

A black-billed magpie exhibit has shown up near the Elk.

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There is Buddy, the pronghorn.

There is Buddy, the pronghorn.

The Monorail is looking bright in it's new paintjob.

The Monorail is looking bright in it’s new paintjob.

On our walk back to Chocolate World, we walked up Trinidad Ave.

On our walk back to Chocolate World, we walked up Trinidad Ave.

Looks nice and spiffy.

Looks nice and spiffy.

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Walking farther down Park Blvd. we could see the former Magic Mountain monorail trains sitting in front of Roller Soaker's station.

Walking farther down Park Blvd. we could see the former Magic Mountain monorail trains sitting in front of Roller Soaker’s station.

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The red and yellow trains were here, but I didn't see the blue train.

The red and yellow trains were here, but I didn’t see the blue train.

A few sections of Lightning Racer have been re-tracked.

A few sections of Lightning Racer have been re-tracked.

About one more month until it opens for it 14th season (it feels like it didn't open too long ago!).

About one more month until it opens for it 14th season (it feels like it didn’t open too long ago!).

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About one more month to go until the end of the off-season (hopefully we don't get anymore snow!).

About one more month to go until the end of the off-season (hopefully we don’t get anymore snow!).

From the former Hershey Museum patio, it looks like work in Tudor Square is progressing.

From the former Hershey Museum patio, it looks like work in Tudor Square is progressing.

Here's something we discovered walking back to Chocolate World: Did you know that there are a line of one-time-use lockers on the path leading to the Season Pass Office? They cost $2 and only take quarters.

Here’s something we discovered walking back to Chocolate World: Did you know that there are a line of one-time-use lockers on the path leading to the Season Pass Office? They cost $2 and only take quarters.

That’s it for the update. I’ll probably do one or two more before the season-opener trip report. As for the website, I am making some good progress on constructing it as I am already up to approximately 20 photo galleries for parks such as Hersheypark, Knoebels, and Dorney Park with more to come. The Skyrush construction updates will not be included at this point, but don’t worry, I have something special planned for them!

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

Update: A Sunday Afternoon at Chocolate World

Since my family was in-town this weekend, we went over to Hershey’s Chocolate World to do a candy (and frozen cocoa) run. While there, I found out that the entrance for the Tour Ride will be re-routed starting Monday and that the Jolly Rancher product character got a makeover to look like the one in the 4D show. One special event that was going on besides Fitness Month is that a photo booth was set up in the Food Court that was supposedly used in a recent television commercial for Kit Kat.

Construction down at Hersheypark’s Tram Circle is the same as last week, so there really isn’t anything new to report there.

I expect that the next update will show the Tour Ride entrance completely walled off and re-routed. As sad as it is to see it go, it should be interesting to see what the renovation has in-store for this classic attraction.

They had the KitKat Android set up next to the photo booth in the Food Court.

They had the Kit Kat Android set up next to the photo booth in the Food Court.

It proved to be pretty popular with people as it would just about always have a few people looking at it and taking a photo of themselves inside of it.

It proved to be pretty popular with people as it would just about always have a few people looking at it and taking a photo of themselves inside of it.

If you thought that there was a camera inside, you are mistaken. Nothing but a wooden bench! Pretty effective marketing tactic if you ask me!

If you thought that there was a camera inside, you are mistaken. Nothing but a wooden bench. Given that it was a prop, it makes sense. Pretty effective marketing tactic if you ask me!

This view should be different pretty soon.

This view should be different pretty soon.

Nothing new to see here, moving on...

Nothing new to see here, moving on…

Thanks for reading!

-Chris