Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Tue, May 11

Letter to the editor: Canyon Coaster Park looks for transparency with community

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)

To the residents of Williams,

We are proposing a family fun park called The Canyon Coaster Adventure Park at 700 E Route 66 in Williams, next to the Red Roof Inn on the east end of town.

Attractions will include an alpine coaster, summer/winter tubing, challenge ropes course, a snack bar, a gift shop and miniature golf. We own and operate two similar parks in Big Bear Lake, California, and have for over 30 years.

Our parks, like most of the local businesses in Big Bear, rely on and market to visiting tourists. They are also very much an active community businesses and members of the town. We are accessible and have proven to be good neighbors, good employers and a great asset to the town and residents of Big Bear Lake.

We have looked at locations in several tourist-based towns and chose Williams for its large tourist draws of the Grand Canyon, Historic Route 66 and Bearizona. We also chose Williams because we feel strongly that we will be a good fit, an asset to the town and its residents, and as such want everyone to be informed on what our park includes.

After looking at several properties in the area, the property we found had the right elevation and access. It also has the proximity of being in town — close to hotels, shops, restaurants and foot traffic.

The lower seven acres are zoned commercial, but the upper portion is zoned residential. Our proposal has our parking, buildings and most of our attractions on the commercial portion, however portions of the tubing lanes and alpine coaster are on an area that is zoned rural residential.

There are some concerns from residents on the east end of town that we would like to address. We always are transparent and open about our plans and proposals and take any concerns very seriously.

Distance of park from nearest residents

We have designed our main building and attractions to be as far east on the property and away from residents as possible. Our main building will be 1,000 feet from the nearest residences and the snow making guns will be 1,250 feet (1/5 mile) from them.

Park and snow making equipment noise

We plan to use the newest and most advanced fan guns for snowmaking. These new guns are very quiet compared to snow guns from the past. The level of noise the snow guns will make at 1,000 feet is less than 50-60 dba. With an additional 250 feet and wooded terrain, the decibel levels go well below what would be heard.

Other park operations will generate noise similar to other local businesses. Hours of operation will stop at 9 p.m.

Additional visitation to Williams

We anticipate visitors to the park will be Grand Canyon tourists who are already visiting Williams. Many customers will park at their hotels. Our experience at our existing parks tells us we would need 100-130 parking spots if the majority drive to the park. That is what we have planned for. We do hope to add an additional day to people’s stays in Williams, much like Bearizona. This will mean another day at a local hotels, shops and restaurants. The snow play area will be marketed in Williams, when visitation is low.

Water for the park

The Williams Public Works Department has studied and addressed the water needed for snowmaking. It is estimated that 1.5 - 3 million gallons will be needed depending on the winter weather. The snowmaking, and water needed for the restaurant and restrooms, will bring the water usage to an amount that is similar to a local hotel.

This will not tax the system or cause harm to town or homeowners water supplies, snowmaking operations will be in the fall/winter when water use in Williams is at its lowest. We are working with the city to make every effort to use raw water for snowmaking.

Employee wages

We will have many positions such as general manager, operations manager, marketing, human resources etc. that are well paid, salaried positions with benefits. We will have mid-level positions such as crew leaders, mechanics, utility/facility managers, etc., that will be paid well above minimum wage and have benefits. Our parks are a good place to work and we strive to create a fun and fulfilling work experience.

The minimum wage jobs will be unskilled positions for high school, college kids or anyone looking for temporary work. We encourage and offer training for our good employees to stay and pursue a career with us. We will look first at the local community to hire and train qualified people. Total employees will be 30 or more.

Property clearing and construction

Trees will need to be cut for our parking lot, buildings and tubing lanes. We will preserve as many old growth, healthy trees as possible. The rest of the property will only have trees removed for a 30-foot path for the coaster. We have laid out the coaster to flow around the large healthy trees.

Our park will use and preserve the natural beauty of the forest and be an attractive asset to Route 66 in Williams. The amount of trees we remove will be far less than if the property was used for a residential housing development.

Sincerly yours, Scott Towsley, Bruce Voigt Canyon Coaster Adventure Park

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