A third theme park targets Pinal County - East Valley Tribune: News

A third theme park targets Pinal County

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Posted: Monday, September 22, 2008 6:20 am | Updated: 9:52 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Arizona could someday be home to six thrilling theme parks filled with rides, amusements and hotels.

The latest called Coyote Canyon would be built on 350 acres near Florence and would be the third one proposed for Pinal County.

The amusement park would be paired with 250 acres of retail and hotel space near Arizona 79 and the Florence-Kelvin Highway, said Kim Tucci, CEO of One Dream, One Team, the group working to bring the park to life.

Coyote Canyon would be made up of five entertainment districts: Old West, Indian High Country, Rocks and River County, Canyon Country and the Central Corridor where hotels, shopping and office space would be located.

"Five women are the owners of this project, and every one of us is determined to make this happen," Tucci said. "We've received over 60 proposals for hotel chains, restaurants, bowling alleys and a theater. They want their first foot in the door."

One Dream, One Team members said they chose Florence because of its central location between Phoenix and Tucson and because of the area's rich Old West history.

"Out here, there's nothing for the kids," said Tucci. "The (Arizona) State Fair comes once a year and the Renaissance Festival comes once a year, but other than that, there's nothing to do."

Plans are in the works for two other theme parks, both near Eloy.

One called the Decades Music Theme Park was a hot topic in the most recent session of the Arizona State Legislature.

Lawmakers tussled over creating a special taxing district in Eloy to pay for the park with legislators eventually approving a 10 percent sales tax in the district's boundaries.

Tucci said her group has no plans to request public funds to pay for Coyote Canyon, which early estimates suggest could cost about $600 million.

Pinal County officials say a lot of planning lies ahead for the proposed park.

"A theme park would be an economic boon for the area, but requires a lot of work before anyone will be hopping on any rides," said Scott Powell, economic-development coordinator for Florence.

Before a project breaks ground, land needs to be purchased and infrastructure for water, sewer and traffic needs to be built. "Any of these theme parks is going to do wonders for Pinal County," Powell said. "We'd love to see it (Coyote Canyon), but we're waiting for more information."

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