Amusing Nebraska

July 30, 2007 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

An amusement park between Lincoln and Omaha? Maybe. A man by the name of Steve Minard says that, with a little help from the State, he’s ready to pump $200 million into the area for a year-round theme park called Wild Escape. It sounds great that somebody is even talking about spending $200 million here, but there’s reason to be wary: Minard first hinted that the project could begin in late 2005 and, well, it didn’t. And now he is asking for handouts. On the other hand, he is supposedly already in the process of building a smaller park in Wheeling, Virginia. I say “supposedly” because although land has been cleared, no building has actually taken place.

Regardless of this project’s likelihood of seeing the light of day, it’s clear that the land along I-80 between Lincoln and Omaha is going to see lots of proposals like this. Indeed, it already has. Some people want to flood the area and create a gigantic lake (taking the town of Ashland off the map). Some people want to build a new regional airport. And at least one guy wants to build an amusement park. It’s possible that some of the big dreams may come true, and if so, fantastic. But I, for one, don’t plan to get too excited about any of the ideas too early in the process. There are just too many hurdles to be overcome.

It sure would be cool to take Robbie on a roller coaster just 30 miles from home, though.

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Dave K July 30, 2007 at 2:22pm

Considering how wonderfully I-80 development between Lincoln and Omaha got off the ground with that amazing outlet mall at Nebraska Crossing, it’s a wonder people aren’t already lining up to join the party.

I’ve rarely been more entertained by Nebraskans than when Ashland residents grabbed their pitchforks during that supposed proposal to build the lake between here and Omaha.  By listening to them you would think that the project had already been signed and they were just waiting for the people to clear out to flood the town.  Yet it was simply a radical idea that had absolutely no chance of even being taken seriously by anyone not living in Ashland.  I wonder if the website dedicated to ‘protecting Ashland’ is still up.

foxspit July 30, 2007 at 3:58pm

I wonder if you would take up a pitchfork if it was Lincoln that was going to be in the crosshairs of a new lake?

I can’t blame the people of Ashland for taking the threat seriously.

CP July 30, 2007 at 4:28pm

@ Dave K: Ashland doesn’t have to look very far back in history to see that it actually HAS happened, and nor far from here.

In the 1930’s and 40’s flooding hit the larger cities along the Big Blue river in Kansas on multiple occasions. The government (Army Corps of Engineers) stepped in during the 1950’s and the Blue River Valley north of Manhattan was dammed in the name of flood control. Despite an organized political movement, meetings with the President, and Hollywood coming to make a movie about it, the cities of Randolph, Stockdale, Cleburne and other smaller communities were lost forever as the rainfalls of the mid 1960’s held back by the new dam crept over their towns.  All for a flood control dam that the engineers at the time predicted would outlive its usefullness within 50-70 years.

Less than a decade later, less than 30 miles away, the Federal Government claimed “Emminent Domain” once again, in order to double the size of the Ft. Riley military reservation. Another 300-500 people who were forced to move in the name of “progress.”

All, I’m saying is - I can see why Ashland got upset about the mere MENTION of it. Apparently they knew their history lessons.

Dave K July 30, 2007 at 4:55pm

Well if Lincoln was under a serious threat to be convered into a lake, I would have to assume that we had been invaded by another country, because that is completely implausible, as is converting Ashland to a lake (though I think it’s a great idea).

I can blame the residents of Ashland and laugh at them for reacting the way they did, because it wasn’t a serious threat.  Just because someone proposes a radical idea doesn’t mean that idea should be taken seriously. If someone said they were going to tear down my neighborhood, I wouldn’t worry about it until I saw the bulldozers lining up because I know how far-fetched the idea is.

Dave K July 30, 2007 at 6:10pm

I don’t see how a few towns being flooded by rain is the same as flooding a town to create a recreational lake. If the ACoE made a mistake by creating the dam, that’s one thing.  Destroying a town so people can get drunk and water ski is something completely different, and something that would never happen.  The implausibility of it is what made Ashland’s reaction humorous.

Mrs CU July 30, 2007 at 9:07pm

The city of Arthur, NE was also flooded; to make Big Mac.  They moved the town.  With the lake being as low as it is, it’s been possible to find foundations from old homes; chimneys laying on the ground and many other interesting items.

beerorkid July 30, 2007 at 9:13pm

I love roller coasters and would have a yearly pass for sure.

I usually hit WOF on the last week on a weekday since it will be deserted.  You do not even have to get off the coaster if there is no line.  I rode the patriot 40 + times and the Mamba a bunch too.

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