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Economic Development ideas…

Almost 30 years ago, in 1994, long before “Destiny USA”, there was a “multi-dimensional themed destination” proposed for Syracuse.

  • 500 acres of vacant land – old limestone quarry – a couple of miles from downtown
  • Directly located on Interstate highway – 1 mile from Interstate Rt. 81
  • 5 miles to NYS Thruway directly via interstate highway – no local traffic
  • Directly located on railway  – 1 mile from Syracuse University
  • Directly adjacent to 36-hole golf course
  • Directly adjacent to electric, gas, sewer and water utilities
  • NO contaminated soils

“The Theme Park” Proposal

The concept: a theme park in a limestone quarry

Other theme park also developed in a limestone quarry: Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas

New York State business and political leaders should see this as an opportunity to promote what can and will be the #1 product sold in the state – tourism. With vast outdoor recreational areas like the Finger Lakes, The Thousand Islands/ St. Lawrence River, Adirondack State Park, the Catskills, Lake George/Saratoga regions, the Canal Recreationway and Lake Ontario and many others within a short drive, Central New York is situated at the hub of tourism in the Northeast United States.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Onondaga County is directly situated at the crossroads of two of the nation’s premier highways: the NY State Thruway/US Interstate Rt. 90 and US Interstate Rt. 81. It is also served by a revitalized railroad system which is increasingly utilized by passengers going to established tourist locations along the railroad routes. The Erie Canal, New York’s 524-mile canal system, connects Onondaga County to hundreds of miles of lakes and rivers across the Empire State, linking the Great Lakes with the majestic Hudson River and with five waterways in Canada.

The Theme Park site is in the heart of Onondaga County and shares all of the above transportation facilities. In fact, the railroad runs directly through the property and has a train boarding station on the Erie Canal (Carousel Center) just ten minutes away!

Themed concepts will be designed into all architectural design and master planning and can include Empire State regional themes, indigenous cultural themes, international cultural themes, Hollywood motion picture and television themes, geographical and seasonal themes, local and national historical themes and interactive community/educational related themes.

Destination implies the development of world class attractions with major drawing power and the expectancy of an extended visitation by tourists from outside the local resident market region requiring lodging and hospitality facilities on premises and directly adjacent thereto. Vacation and Resort hotel concepts and design development are very important to the success of the project in order to extend the visitation and per capita expenditures. It also spurs tourist related growth in surrounding areas which provides long term permanent growth and viability and bolsters community support and involvement.

To summarize, the Project is proposed as a regional theme park serving all of Central New York State and surrounding counties providing a high quality family-oriented atmosphere with amusement rides, entertainment, shopping, sports, dining and lodging accessed directly from a presently underutilized interstate highway and directly on a passenger railroad route.



  • Multiple Water Slides
  • Wave Pool
  • Lazy River
  • Roller Coasters & Big Thrill Rides
  • Multiple Indoor Simulator Rides
  • Indoor Waterparks
  • Virtual Reality & Redemption Games
  • Stage &Musical Venues
  • Multi-Plex Movie Theaters
  • Laser Light & Sound Shows
  • Comedy & Magic Shows





  • Adventure Miniature Golf Courses
  • Go Cart Tracks
  • Bumper Boats & Cars
  • Team & Family Celebration Facilities
  • Kiddie-land
  • Multi-Dimensional Childrens Playground
  • Soft Play Centers
  • Video Arcades
  • Golf Simulators
  • Laser Tag & Laser Skeet
  • Batting Cages
  • Train Rides



  • Life-size re-creation of The Emerald City with shopping venues, restaurants, theatrical stages,
  • Wizards hallway, etc.
  • “Dark” rides through The Wicked Witch’s Castle
  • Tornado Dark Ride
  • Munchkin Land, Oz Characters throughout the theme park
  • Yellow Brick roads,
  • Horse of a different color,
  • Wizards special effects shows, etc.

Central New York is the home of the original author of all of the Wizard of Oz novels, Mr. L Frank Baum. Born in Chittenango, New York, which is about 15 miles east ofthe proposed site of The Theme Park, Mr. Baum wrote14 volumes about the Wonderful Land of Oz.

The Village of Chittenango holds an annual “OzFest” in the streets of their village. Attendance has exceeded 30,000 people for the weekend event. Original cast members from the original 1939 MGM movie, “The Wizard of Oz”, attend the annual event. The Wizard of Oz remains one of the most beloved of all motion pictures and is well-known throughout the world. It is Central New York’s legitimate direct connection to the major motion picture industry and its potential tourism. The Theme Park would promote to its fullest potential the international drawing power of this famous motion picture and all of itscharacters. Daily historic tours of Chittenango’s Oz related attractions would be coordinated and promoted from The Theme Park tourism and travel office.


  • Enclosed Arena for basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, concerts, tradeshows
  • Velodrome
  • Olympic-quality Training Facilities

An opportunity exists in the Syracuse market for the development of sports entertainment facilities such as an arena or stadium, a velodrome, youth hockey and youth baseball facilities, lacrosse and soccer arenas, etc., to facilitate expansion of current semi-professional sports franchises in the Syracuse area and future team sports being solicited to the Central New York market. The current facilities for the Syracuse Crunch semi-pro hockey club are undersized and plans for enlarging the facility have already been discussed. The current site at the Onondaga County Convention Center, in downtown Syracuse, has site limitations regarding infrastructure which may limit the needed expansion. Proximity of The Theme Park site to Syracuse University (1 mile) and interstate highways, expansive acreage for construction and parking, and excellent soil bearing capacities, make the proposed site an excellent option for construction of new sports facilities.The Carrier Dome at Syracuse University, home of the NCAA Division 1 Syracuse OrangemenBasketball and Football teams, plays host to the largest attendance of college basketball fansin the country with an average of more than 20,000 fans attending each of their home games. New sports facilities at The Theme Park would attract greater numbers of spectators to many other national and international league semi-professional sports franchises currently existing or planned for the Syracuse market.


Large Man-made Recreational Lake and Waterfront

General Description: A man-made fresh water lake of approximately 15 acres in surface area. Constructed in a limestone quarry excavated to desired lake bottom terrain and depth. Lined with appropriate environmentally safe PVC and/or other materials. Treatment, filtering, filling and overflow controls completely monitored and mechanically controlled. Water depth to be variable in areas making it suitable for stocking of indigenous and compatible fish and aquatic animal species. Shallower areas to freeze sooner in winter season. Designated areas for beach, swimming and wading depths.


Youth and Senior fishing contests, family canoeing and small boating, paddle boats, etc. Swimming, diving, wading, sunbathing, beach volleyball and other beach sports.

Cypress Garden-style water extravaganzas with jet-ski races and entertainment exhibitions, water ski shows, daredevil diving, etc.

Winter activities include: day and night figure skating, sled dog races, national ice auger competitions, speed skating competitions, polarbear swim competitions, amateur youth hockey, ice fishing, ice sculpting, broom hockey, snow-boarding, snow sculpting, snowmobiling and races, sledding and snowshoe races.

Waterfront lodges and restaurants with decks, outdoor patios and cafes overlook the lake and during the winter provide fireplaces, hot tubs, Jacuzzis and entertainment for year-round leisure enjoyment.

The lake can become the center of outdoor natural activities and provide an environmental conservation and education resource. Fish and Wildlife exhibitions with aquarium displays can provide an edutainment opportunity for regional school systems.


PLEASURE HILLS RESORT & SPA–in secluded wooded area

  • Adult relaxation and recreation
  • Luxury hot tubs, saunas & spa
  • 36-Hole Golf Course


Interactive High Tech / Recreation


  • Factory Outlet Stores
  • Enclosed Specialty Retail Mall
  • Tourism Related & Souvenirs Stores 


  • Theme Weekends
  • Winterfest Activities
  • Conferences & Trade Shows
  • Tourism Related Activities
  • Charity and Fund Raising Events 


  • Large corporate clambake and picnic grounds, RV park & campgrounds


A Train Museum has been proposed for The Theme Park as a natural addition to the proposed New York State themes and especially due to the presence of the railroad which runs directly through the property in a location which would provide easy access to a rail siding and museum exhibits at the “front door” of the theme park.

General Description:

As proposed by the Central New York Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society:

  • Passenger Station – Two story, brick exterior with clock tower, telegraph office, ticket facilities, restrooms, waiting rooms, gift shop.
  • 600 foot platform for loading and unloading passengers. Approximately 300 feet covered. Allows up to eight passenger cars to unload at one time.
  • Passing siding
  • Train shed – open type structure with skylights. Four tracks with platforms for easy viewing of display cars.
  • A private car track with facilities for servicing private cars.
  • A tower to depict the old dispatching towers of old times. It can also function as a control center for train movements in the area.
  • Display Building – containing full size dioramas of local railroad scenes, an orientation theater and other displays. Connected to simulated roundhouse.
  • Turntable with 100 foot capacity.
  • Maintenance and Restoration Building – containing two 90 foot tracks with viewing platforms for public to view restoration work.
  • Trolley line for transport of theme park visitors around park.
  • Model railroad building containing an operating HO model of the railroads operating in the streets of Syracuse.
  • Library containing extensive collection of research material.






An international theme park consultant was hired and performed a design-charrette and provided a preliminary feasibility study:


Location, accessibility and visual impact are some of the most important marketability elements for any project site. Proportionately high marketing costs and poor location go hand in hand. The site needs to be properly located in relation to available resident and tourist markets. Access to and from the development site is also critical to a project’s success. Those attending must be able to find and enter the project easily. Creating a strong visual impact for arriving guests is also an important marketing feature, identity symbol, and stimulator of anticipation and heightened interest.

The consultants examined the potential location for the proposed theme park on February26th, 1997. The 467-acre site is composed of two major parcels divided by Interstate Route481.

There are approximately 290 acres north of the highway and 177 acres to the south. The site is a former limestone rock quarry with many scenic qualities. Many areas have already been leveled, allowing ease of future development, and utilities are available nearby.

“The potential site is well located in relation to potential resident markets. It is located near the city limits, only a few minutes from downtown. A major highway divides the site, which would provide easy access with the addition of new exit ramps.”

“Overall, the consultant was impressed with the site and believes that it would easily meet the minimum requirements for theme park development.

There are no major competitors within the primary or secondary resident market (within 100 miles of the site). Six Flags Darien Lake, a combination theme and water park, is located 120 miles from Syracuse, within the tertiary resident market, which typically contributes a relatively small part of potential annual attendance.


After conducting this initial assessment, the international theme park consultant is optimistic. Overall, they believe that the Syracuse resident and visitor markets can support the development of a moderately sized theme park, as well as other complementary leisure attractions such as a water park or family entertainment center.

As a worldwide leisure developer with proven experience, the consultant can supply all or part of the next steps for development. When requested, the consultant will provide the developer with a detailed proposal to perform a full feasibility analysis on the theme park in order to determine the project’s potential for success and to give parameters for project sizing and investment.