Hersheypark has presented a development plan for a 23 acre expansion. Slated to open in 2020 the plan includes extensive improvements for the Pennsylvania park but keeps fans guessing on new rides and attractions.
The land development plan was presented at the Derry Township Planning Commission meeting. Hershey Entertainment and Resorts showed a plan covering an area of 23 acres situated on the west side of the park.
The park’s entrance gate will be reconfigured, along with its drop-off and pick-up areas. New access roads will be created. Some existing infrastructure will be demolished under the new plans as new buildings take their place. Plaza improvements are also planned.
Stormwater collection and management facilities will be part of the new development. Spring Creek will be restored, and a new bridge will be constructed.
However details of new rides and attractions are conspicuous by their absence. No precise details are given about the buildings either.
“We really look forward to sharing those exciting plans at a future date after the approval process,” Garrett Gallia, a spokesman for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, said after the meeting.
The planning commission has recommended that, pending plan revisions, the Derry Township Board of Supervisors should approve the plan.
Work is expected to commence in 2019. The project will result in disruption of around 23.5 acres of the site –over three acres will be taken up by a floodway.
The plan has mainly been made possible by the realignment of 5,807 feet of Park Boulevard that edges the park. This has taken away a barrier between the park and what was Parkview Golf Course, allowing the park to expand into a portion of the former golf course.
Hershey Entertainment has given land worth around $9 million for the project. The remaining $9.7 million has come from local, state and federal funds.
Glen Rowe, chairman of the planning commission, commented that relocating Park Boulevard will give the park a competitive edge with expansion. However he warns that it will increase the walk to concerts and hockey games for those living in town to more than one mile.
“It creates a disconnect and isolation from the downtown community, which is really important for Hershey Entertainment and Resorts addresses,” said Rowe.
Gallia said that Hershey Entertainment understood his concerns and is planning improvements. Season pass holders who live in town will be able to park at the ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park. They can then access events via a designated walkway. He also promised that the new plans will reduce the walk to less than a mile.
Hersheypark was built as a leisure park for employees of the chocolate company in 1905 and is now a Top 20 rated US theme park that covers 121 acres, including ZooAmerica which stretches over 11 acres.
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