Grist Magazine recently published an article titled, Ferris Dueler - Old amusement parks don't die, they just...become condos, by Dan Rafter (Aug. 22, 2006). Please click on the above link for the article.San Jose's, Frontier Village, and a century old Lunenburg, Mass park by the name of Whalom Park each have fallen victim to real estate developers. Condo's have taken precidence over entertainment avenues for families and youth.
You can add to the escalating list, South Carolina's former Myrtle Beach Pavilian Amusement Park and Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Commercial housing developers got their way again. In my own neck of the woods, track homes have replaced Big Bear Waterpark in Waterford, CA as well as the Manteca, CA's Manteca Waterslides. In there place are a mix of Bay Area commuters and locals. Yep...more people...less to do.
Big Bear Waterpark was actively involved in community support efforts throughout Stanislaus County, and participated in Modest's 4th of July parade each year. Today, even the parade is on the chopping block, due to economic woes and a non-supportive city council. On the other hand, most of the council is squarely in the pocket of housing developers that are tearing down prime farm land and growing cities together into one massive slab of concrete.
Marine World (Valejo, CA) was forced out of it's former home in Redwood City, CA by commercial developers and the city. Fortunately, Marine Land found a new feasible location in Valejo and became part of the Six Flags chain. Unfortunately, Six Flags has divested itself of the Houston based Astroworld Theme Park, with several additional parks due to be sold off. I'm sure that developers would love to capitalize off of these properties as well. What does it matter to them, as long as there's a quick buck to be made.
Amusement/theme parks offer wholesome entertainment, something for families to do and enjoy together and an outlet for teans. In many cases, these parks make proactive contributions to their respective surrounding commuities. They exist as an important part of our cultural history.
I'm not saying that all housing developers, politicians and lawyers are simple, greedy and crooked. Though in the long-run, if the ones that are continue to get their way as frequently as they do, we are indeed doomed as a society to pay a great price.