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Lake Compounce plans detailed

Meriden Record-Journal

Original Article »

February 07, 2008

SOUTHINGTON - A new slide proposed for the expanded water park at the Lake Compounce amusement park would be 75 feet tall. And while that might seem high, park operators say it will appeal to families, not daredevils.

The slide is just one of the many additions in a site plan and special permit application for a six-acre expansion, filed Tuesday with the Planning Department. The Zoning Board of Appeals garnted a variance in early December allowing a structure taller than 35 feet.

"There is no zoning for amusement parks," said Gerald Brick, general manager of Lake Compounce. "We have slides 60 to 70 feet as it is." When completed in 2010, the expansion will more than double the size of the water park.

The water park addition is contingent on the relocation of Mount Vernon Road, which the Town Council approved in June by a unanimous vote. The road would be moved about 350 feet east. Brick said the road work is expected to begin this spring. "By next Christmas, we need to build (the addition) full bore."

"It's long been planned. It's not a surprise," said Town Planner Mary Savage. She said the original 4.8-acre water park already operates within Southington's boundaries.

Town documents show a special permit was granted in 1985 to fill in 4.7 acres of wetlands near Mount Vernon Road when the amusement park was owned by HERCO. Records show that 20,000 cubic yards of fill were used.

In 1994, Lake Compounce was allowed by the state to open temporarily despite noncompliance with traffic regulations. A certificate was issued "for approval to be open temporarily to maintain the record as the oldest continually operating amusement park in the country."

"That's definitely important to us," said Brick. "We blend history and tradition with new and modern." He said the 85-foot-tall Wildcat Coaster is 80 years old and the park's carousel dates to 1898.

New attractions planned for the expanded water park include a crow's nest slide tower, a beach-themed kiddy pool, a "boogie board" wave pool and a wave-action river.

"We'll have wave pools back to back. The waves will push into the other pool. It would be the first one in the country like it," Brick said. The water park is being designed by Northeast Aquatic Design and Supply of Peabody, Mass.

Many of the planned improvements hinge on approval of state bond money. Funding for the expansion and infrastructure upgrade is included in a $3.5 million bond request that has yet to be reviewed by the 10-member Bond Commission.

A Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing on the special permit application will be held in April.

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