Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Pour your Money Down this Hole

The city of Rocklin, California is getting into the adventure theme park business.

Well, maybe they are. We’re not actually sure yet. It all centers on a big hole in the ground.

My Sycamore Detective Agency series takes place in Rocklin, and quite a bit of the fictional action in the third book takes place in the real-life quarry pit formerly known as the Big Gun.

For full disclosure, in order to maintain my impeccable record of journalistic integrity, I must admit that I have quite a bit of personal heartburn with the city of Rocklin regarding this particular quarry pit. It sits smack in the middle of the older part of town, and it used to have a really (arguably) cool old barn on the property. It also had two huge wooden masts – literally masts from old ships – standing high above the pit on either end. They were the derrick crane masts that were used to bring the enormous blocks of granite up out of the pit, and they were strung together with massive steel cables to keep them upright.

The city politely listened to all the Rocklin Historical Society folks about the need to preserve the very historical building and masts, and then tore it all down the next day to build an amusement park.

I really don’t like that some of the cool real-life old historical stuff in my book is no longer there, but at least they left the big hole in the ground. That’s something, I guess.

Truth be told in this situation, I’m really more concerned about the fact that a government entity (that takes my money from me) thinks it’s a good idea to get into the business of building and operating an entertainment venue. Here’s why:

Last year, the city unveiled their grand plan of putting zip lines over the big hole and putting spikes and ropes and such in the walls of the quarry so adventurous adventurers could climb up and down. It was going to be amazing.

Tickets went on pre-sale before Christmas in anticipation of the adventurous grand summer opening adventure. There were fun pictures that someone from the city drew up of what all the adventure would probably look like really soon. There were even going to be cargo nets and maybe even slides!

For around a hundred dollars per happy adventurer, we could buy season passes.

Based on the five-hundred-dollar price tag and the fact that, at that point, the site was nothing more than a muddy, deserted, demolished old quarry hole, our family politely declined the amazing pre-purchase opportunity.

I forgot about the whole thing as the winter went on, and apparently so did all the people in charge of building it. Winter moved into spring, and around May, I started to get the impression – mainly because absolutely nothing had been constructed yet – that the park might not be ready by the time school got out.

Lo and behold, just the other day I heard a radio report on the new Rocklin Adventure Park. It seems the city had to break the news to all the nice folks who bought season passes that their dreams of summer fun zip-lining over a giant hole would not be realized. Seems the facility isn’t quite ready – meaning it still looks almost exactly like it did in May.

They have a new (wildly optimistic) estimated opening day of August 31st, conveniently, for the parents of the greater Rocklin area, after school is back in session. But don’t worry, folks, your season passes will still be valid for the whole season, whatever that may end up being defined as.

Oh, and one other tiny little tidbit the news story mentioned – the city needs another $1.3 million, give or take, to get the project completed.

Wow, you might say, $1.3 million seems like more than enough money to string some zip lines over a quarry pit, let alone as an add-on to get the project competed. What did they say they needed the extra $1.3 million for, specifically?

Oh, nothing major. Just restrooms and a food court.

I am not making that up.

The people that take my money to run my city forgot to include toilets at their amusement park.

Let that sink in for a minute while they have a meeting and ask themselves for another $1,300,000. Think they’ll say yes to themselves?

Actually, Rocklin, better make it $1.5 million. That way you can buy some toilet paper, too.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen

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