California’s Great America opens for the 2019 season on March 23, but for ACE members, the season typically kicks off much earlier than that. Such was the case on March...
Just after 1am on the morning of January 25th, 2017, the Santa Clara City Council unanimously approved the 20-year master plan for California’s Great America. The plan includes an outside-the-park shopping district known as Great America Marketplace, along with a rezoning of the park from Thoroughfare Commercial (CT) to Commercial Development (CD) that would increase the park’s maximum ride height limit of to 250′. Below is a direct quote from pp. 6-7 of the meeting packet describing what exactly the Santa Clara City Council approved (source):
D. Great America Theme Park, 1 Great America Parkway (also 4701 Great America Parkway) – approximately 112-acre site:
- Adoption of a Resolution to certify an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and adopt California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Findings and a Statement of Overriding Considerations and the Mitigation Monitoring or Reporting Program (MMRP), and
- Adoption of a Resolution to approve the rezoning from Thoroughfare Commercial (CT) to Planned Development (PD) to allow development of a Park Master Plan project that would continue to allow existing attractions, rides and operating practices and would provide flexibility to allow the development of new rides and replacement of rides and attractions, extension of the operating season, modified operating practices, additional hours of operation, and construction of a year-round commercial/entertainment district that would comprise up to 250,000 square feet of building space (100,000 new square feet beyond existing) that would be open to the general public outside of the theme park gates of the Great America Theme Park and amphitheater, subject to Master PD Zoning Use and Development Standards and conditions of approval.
A rough idea of the Great America Marketplace can be seen in the below concept rendering as found on p. 898 of the meeting packet.
As the Regional Representative for ACE NorCal, I spoke in support of the project in person at this city council meeting and expressed how passing the proposed development would be of great benefit to the City of Santa Clara over the long run. While there was also opposition to the master plan, which primarily pertained to extended operating hours during a limited time frame in addition to noise abatement, Mayor Gillmor and the rest of the city council said that they were excited about the project and confident that Cedar Fair be able to work on noise concerns as was done so successfully with Gold Striker back in 2013.
A video of last night’s council meeting featuring the discussion of the 20-year master plan for Great America can be seen below. My remarks on the project appear at 56:10.
As Raul Rehnborg, Vice President & General Manager of CGA, said back in 2013: “The future is bright for California’s Great America,” and this couldn’t be more true today. As further details are released on what Great America plans to do over the next few years, you can be assured that you will see that information here. Stay tuned!