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Sat, Jan. 16

Wild ride: Coaster and tubing park proposal comes before Williams P & Z

A coaster and tubing park could be coming to Williams. (Photo/Dan McKernan)

A coaster and tubing park could be coming to Williams. (Photo/Dan McKernan)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Canyon Coaster Adventure Park could be coming to Williams.

The Williams Planning and Zoning Commission recently held a public hearing for rezoning of approximately 13 acres of a 20 acre parcel on the east side of Williams at 700 E. Route 66 for the park.

The commission approved the rezoning with a 5-0 vote, Dec. 17. The project will now go before the Williams City Council for final approval.

If approved, the location will house a family adventure park with the primary attractions of a coaster track, and a summer and winter tubing hill operation.

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Scott Towsley and Bruce Voit present the Canyon Coasters Adventure Park project to the Williams Planning and Zoning Commission Dec. 17. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

“I think this will be a plus for the town in the winter to help drive some of the business,” said Scott Towsley, co-sponsor of the project.

In addition to the coaster and tubing, the park will offer a ropes course, miniature golfing, a 130-space parking lot and a base lodge with snack bar.

Williams Community Development Director Tim Pettit presented the project to the commission and said the project is in compliance with the city’s general plan, but the zoning is currently mixed zoning. He said seven acres is zoned as Commercial Business District and the remaining 13 acres are zoned as Rural Residential.

Pettit said the applicants, Canyon Coaster Adventure Park and B&S Land Inc., had submitted all paperwork and paid the required fees.

A notice of a public hearing was published and property owners within 300 feet of the site were notified of the application, he said.

Pettit said he had received multiple responses to the project, with several concerns from residents living nearby on Pine St.

“Their concerns, in general, are the same,” he said. “Noise, lights, traffic and impact on city services.”

Pettit said he also received four responses from nearby businesses, which were all in favor of the project. He said the business owners thought the project would draw more foot traffic to the east end of town, and the park would be a good tourism draw in the winter.

Towsley and Bruce Voit, partners in the Canyon Coaster Adventure Park, addressed questions from the commission and the public in attendance.

“There will be a low level solar light, just enough to light up the track for a patron that is riding at night,” Towsley said. “It wouldn’t be bright, wouldn’t be intrusive. The carts themselves have a little headlight on them and go about 60-feet in front of the track.”

In regard to the noise concern, Towsley said there is no clicking or track noise.

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Canyon Coasters Adventure Park came before the Williams Planning and Zoning Commission Dec.17. The park includes two tubing hills, a coaster track, a ropes course and miniature golf. (Map/Canyon Coasters)

“This coaster is a gravity coasted,” he said. “It’s pulled up the hill by a cable, there’s no clicking, it’s very quiet. We have to be careful during inspections because you can’t even hear a cart coming down the track.”

Towsley said the lighting on the snow play area will be directed toward the ground and the parking lot will follow city codes.

The owners have previous experience with amusement parks, which include the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain, Big Bear Snow Play and the Mine Shaft Coaster all located in Big Bear Lake, California.

The first phase of construction for the park will focus on the development of the base area and the coaster track. The second phase would be the tubing areas and the ropes course.

“We plan to leave as many trees as possible for noise buffers,” Towsley said.

Towsley said the architectural design would be rustic and similar to businesses such as Bearizona.

If approved, construction would begin in January with a goal to open in the fall or winter 2021.

Towsely Welding and Construction will construct the coaster track with the cable pulley system that draws riders to the top.

The coaster will have 36 carts that are manually controlled, but include a backup computer that controls speed and braking.

The track will sit on steel frames pinned to the ground, with parts of the coaster reaching heights of 35 feet. Safety netting and walkways will be installed in areas where the coaster track rises more than five feet above the ground.

The tubing area will include a summer hill and a winter hill. The winter hill will be open November through March and will have a snowmaking system. The hill will have eight lanes on a 150-foot wide by 500-foot long area. Riders will have be transported up the hill via a “magic carpet lift system.”

A snow cat will be utilized to maintain lanes and snow conditions. The snow cat will be housed at the base along with a 500-square-foot pump house that will hold a vertical turbine pump, a control system and tube storage.

The owners estimate that 1.5 million gallons of water is needed per winter to maintain the snow. Approximately 60,000-90,000 KWH will be needed to operate the snow guns, night lights and carpet lift each season.

The summer tubing hill will be constructed next to the winter tubing hill and will utilize the carpet lift. The summer tubing will have six lanes and use artificial turf. It will be open when the winter hill is closed.

The ropes/challenge course will cover an 80-foot by 100-foot footprint. It will challenge customers at multiple ages and employ a harness safety system. The system is designed for expansion and changes to keep the course fresh and up to date.

The base area will have the lodge, cart building, parking lot and miniature golf. The 4,000-7,000-foot lodge will serve as the entry and exit for the coaster park. There will be a ticketing counter, snack bar with seating, gift shop, restrooms, offices and employee break rooms.

“The design will be on that is appropriate for our park and the character of Williams,” the owners said.

The lodge will also have an outdoor deck, that has seating and view of all the activities, and an area with iPad portals and four big screen monitors where customers can review and purchase videos and photographs of the rides.

The owners estimate the base lodge will use 48,000 gallons of water for the restrooms and 7,000 gallons for the snack bar.

The base area will also house a coaster cart building and will be of the same design as the visitor center. Riders will access their carts at the 1,200-square-foot building, and the remainder of the building will be for employees to conduct maintenance and store the carts.

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