Today, of course, it's actually Oklahoma City. This fall Elitch's was sold to Premier Parks, an Oklahoma-based company (with corporate offices in New York City) that's now the fourth-largest regional amusement-park operator in the country. That's not precisely what Denver voted for back in 1989. But Splashwater Kingdom Fun Park--one of Premier's other possessions--is too long a name for a campaign slogan.
The Mayor's Office of Economic Development loaned Elitch's another $7 million to pave the way for the move to the Platte. Premier has told the city it plans to pay that off--which is convenient, since MOED plans to loan the same amount to Colorado Ocean Journey, the aquarium planned for a site just further up the Platte. That loan is contingent on Denver City Council approving the deal, but there's no reason to think councilmembers will suddenly come to their senses. When it comes to buying into a developer's dreams, this town is River City.
Financing for Colorado Ocean Journey finally fell into place last month--although "fell" is an understatement for the pushing, tugging and cajoling by corporate bigwigs inexplicably supporting the pricey project--and the long-postponed groundbreaking is now rescheduled for this month. When the $93 million facility is completed two or so years from now, it will feature river wildlife--a more fitting focus for a mile-high aquarium located a thousand miles away from any ocean than, say, a killer-whale or dolphin show.
Too bad that by then, all the native wildlife will be long gone from the Platte River.