Apparently not Six Flags new CEO, Mark Shapiro, that’s who! I knew from day one when Dan Snyder decided to oust the former CEO and bring in his friend Shapiro as the new CEO, Six Flags was doomed! They thought they could just come in and change the chain overnight. Well, with Six Flags not performing well last quarter, they are looking to make cuts again. After the demise of Astroworld it left many wondering what was next. Then they sold off Frontier Land. Now they have made it known that they are not done.
They are now looking at dismantling and or selling 6 more properties. These six properties include Six Flags Darien Lake outside Buffalo, N.Y., Six Flags Waterworld in Concord, Calif., Six Flags Elitch Gardens in Denver, Wild Waves and Enchanted Village outside Seattle, Six Flags Splashtown in Houston and Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor near Los Angeles. Yes you see Elitch Gardens in that list.
Elitch Gardens has been entertaining Denver citizens and visitors since 1891. From its humble start as an orchard, to becoming Denver’s first Botanic Gardens, then Denver’s first Zoo, to today’s premier amusement park destination, it has always been there. Well, now, that is in jeopardy! Elitch’s sits on prime real estate which the CEO sees as a great money opportunity to help pay off debts. While no decision has been made yet, it is still a grave possibility that this Denver legend will cease to exist after the 2006 operating season.
I have been working at Elitch’s for the past 14 seasons now, and have been through quite a number of changes. It has become part of me, and I would sorely miss the park (even if I gripe about it from time to time. Tell me who doesn’t gripe about their job at some point!). I still remember my first season there working my little Uni Kiosk selling candy and film to the guests while the Wildcat roller coaster zoomed by behind me all day. Yes those early days, and the original park are gone, but the spirit is still there, it just needs to be unlocked again!
We need to find ways to make Shapiro realize that this park is an institution, and needs to be saved. In this day in age when all they see is $$$ figures, they need to realize what a devastation dismantling this park would be to Denver, not only historically, but financially. Elitch Gardens is a big part of the Denver commerce. It is a destination spot for many people that come to conventions at the Denver Convention Center just up the street. Being the largest amusement park basically between Chicago, Texas and California, people from many surrounding states make ventures to it each year. Don’t forget the thousands of teens the park employes each summer. For many of these kids, it’s their first job.
I know that no decision has been made, but we have to be preemptive on this now that we now that this is a possibility! I do hope in the end that if Shapiro sees it fit to do away with Elitch Gardens from the Six Flags chain, that he looks to sell it to a group that will plan to keep the park alive, and not just junk it like they did to Astroworld! Please, we can’t let Lakeside be Colorado’s only option for an amusement park!