Funtown Pier owner unveils preliminary plans for tall “thrill” rides

     Preliminary plans for the rebuilt Funtown Pier. (Photo courtesy of Erik Weber/Riverside Signal)

    Preliminary plans for the rebuilt Funtown Pier. (Photo courtesy of Erik Weber/Riverside Signal)

    Following Hurricane Sandy, which severely damaged Seaside Park’s Funtown Pier in October 2012, owner Bill Major proclaimed that he was going to rebuild and reopen with “bigger, higher, better” rides for the 2014 season.

    Less than a year later in September 2013, the devastating boardwalk fire ripped through the crumbled remains of the pier, leaving many wondering about its future.

    During an informal presentation at the Seaside Park Land Use Board Tuesday evening, Major and his supporting cast of professionals unveiled preliminary plans for a pier rebuild that features bigger, higher, and better rides, just like he promised after Hurricane Sandy.

    Major, who has owned Funtown Pier since 1980, said the pier rebuild will cost $20 million. To justify the cost, he said, the pier will need rides that generate revenue.

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    Among other rides, including various kiddie attractions, the preliminary plan calls for a 305-feet tall Zip Line, 300-feet tall Vertical Swing, 255-feet tall Giant Wheel, 225-feet tall Sky Coaster, 195-feet tall Moto Coaster, and a 175-feet tall Turbo Force.

    The more extravagant attractions, however, will require the borough to amend its zoning ordinance, which stipulates a 50-foot maximum height for amusements.

    Some nearby business owners, including Cheryl Raley, who operates the nearby Charlroy Motel, said she supports the plan since she relies on boardwalk attractions for visitors.

    But Pat DeGutis, who lives down the street from the pier, said she prefers the sounds of nature rather than rides operating and people screaming. 

    The borough’s Land Use Board did not take any action on the ordinance amendment request Tuesday evening. Officials plan on hosting another public meeting prior to offering a recommendation to the municipal governing body. 

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