Monday, December 03, 2007

Water Park Fever!

Arizona has tried to cash in on a limited but quite successful range of tourist-magnetizing images since shortly after gaining statehood. It's pretty much been Grand Canyon with a touch of other minor natural wonders and Old West with a touch of mining from the get-go, which has worked pretty well for the outer ring of the state. Grand Canyon, Sedona, White Mountains, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Bisbee, Tombstone, Jerome, Yuma Territorial Prison.

But, alas, as central Arizona increasingly adopts the guise of California del Este with the freeways and monstrous cookie-cutter red-tile-roofed tract houses of greater Los Angeles--only with even less available water--developers have eyed the big expanse of desolate, hot saltbush flats between Phoenix and Tucson and thought, naturally... Theme Park!

Not just any theme park. A rock 'n' roll theme park! In Eloy!
The question for Arizonans, as lawmakers consider creating a taxing district to pave the way for a large-scale theme park in Eloy, is whether Southern Arizona's extreme summer temperatures — which can climb as high as 115 degrees — are too hot for tourists to handle.

It's an issue that skeptics and critics of the park — called Decades and based around a rock 'n' roll concept — have raised since its developers rolled out plans early this month.

Because I-10 just isn't crowded enough. Of course, no one in their right minds would venture outduring daylight hours to a blacktopped venue anytime between May and... oh, let's be generous and say September in the oven that is central Arizona, so maybe traffic won't be an issue at all. Not that it would make things any better for the people who are stuck in the proposed 9 percent tax district that would be created to fund this bogglingly stupid idea.

But since even the prospect of acres of asphalt + 115-degree daytime highs doesn't provide enough stupid for some people, Glenna, a "writer" from Tucson, dials it up to eleven in this letter to the Daily Star this morning:

A theme park in Arizona is a great idea as long as it is a water park. Why not build something that makes sense, that will not only attract tourists but will also provide relief from the heat for natives. They have enclosed beaches in Japan, so why not here? We already have a theme song for the park: "Ocean Front Property" in Arizona.

When it's cold in the rest of the world, people can come play on the beach when it's hot here. People can surf in the indoor ocean. And don't say we don't have enough water. If we have enough for the golf courses, we have enough for a water park.

In the immortal words of the Scalzi LOLCreashun Contest winner,

Logic: You're Doing It Wrong.

We don't have enough for the golf courses, sweet cheeks. The 100-year water plan that allows new houses to spring up by the tens of thousands is predicated on increasing draws from the Colorado River, which supplies three other states on its way here and is in crisis already. And you want a surfable indoor ocean in Eloy? Please.

Meanwhile, the evil empire to the north is moving forward with plans for a monstrous, 125-acre water park that would suck up 100 million gallons of groundwater per year. Unclear on the Concept of a Fucking Desert Developer Richard Mladick offers up his unassailable reasoning:

Mladick, 39, said he wanted to create the kind of lush environment he remembers from growing up in Virginia Beach, Va., and surfing in Morocco, Indonesia, Hawaii and Brazil.

"I couldn't imagine raising my kids in an environment where they wouldn't have the opportunity to grow up being passionate about the same sports that I grew up being passionate about," he said.

Here's a thought. If you want to raise your kids in an environment where they will have the opportunity to grow up being passionate about surfing and snorkling, raise them in Virginia Beach. Arizona has an unbelievable number of settings for amazing outdoor activities--hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, hunting--but surfing just isn't one of them. Too many more asshole developers with far more money than brains might ultimately end up curtailing much more mundane activities, such as drinking water that isn't treated effluent. Tempe Town Lake is already the state's biggest evaporative cooler. With Mesa poised to take over the top spot, the aquifer doesn't need an additional assault from Eloy.

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