Group sets out to make sure park stays put

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“If it came down to it, I would chain myself to the sign,” said supporter Holly Patterson, 21. “It’s a landmark and brings a lot of money into the Santa Clarita Valley.” “I know they’re talking about closing the park and selling off the land for more homes and traffic,” she said. “But they need to realize they’re taking away jobs and places for kids to go. What would they rather kids do, go to Magic Mountain or out to cause trouble?” Trouble is one of the reasons cited by management for the park’s decline in family attendance, reasoning that parents do not want to bring their children to a place where rival groups might choose to take out their differences with fists or weapons. Kelly Patterson, 23, disputed that theory. “Teens like fast roller coasters and it fits into everyone’s budget,” she said. “They know it draws a younger demographic. If they can build a $12 million ride, they can buy more security.” Beris, 26, the only former employee in the group, felt that installing metal detectors helped control any violence. In the past, he worked as a supervisor at Hurricane Harbor, gave new employees orientation and training and, while attending high school, worked as a ride operator. “I wanted to have a place where people could talk about the issue and add their memories, whether they were employees or guests,” he said. The Web site, filled with photos of coasters through the years and of mascots like Bleep, Bloop, King Troll and The Wizard. It offers clothing items with the Web site address as well as a suggestion that investors with a soft spot for the park pool their money and buy it. Beris says he modeled the site after a similar one put up to save another Six Flags park, Six Flags Astroworld in Texas. That movement failed, and the park closed Oct. 30, 2005, after 35 years in operation. Asked if he was ready to accept the same fate – Magic Mountain is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year – Beris said he would keep the site going until there was a definitive end. “We will keep up the effort to save the park,” he said. “We’re hoping whoever purchases it will keep it as a theme park. Astroworld closed because a lot of people didn’t know what was going on until it was too late.” Beris, who sells real estate for a living, understands the value of the property beneath the thrill rides, but is willing to stand firm. “We have plenty of houses and traffic,” he said. “Closing the park would take away 3,600 jobs and a terrific place to go. It’s just too much to lose.” [email protected] (661) 257-5252160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VALENCIA – The latest white-knuckler that Charles Beris is riding is his computer keyboard, where he’s hastily established a new Web site dedicated to his favorite amusement park, Six Flags Magic Mountain. The threat of the park’s closure has sent him into a stomach-churning drop, inspiring him to launch www.savemagicmountain.com. There, visitors can leave memories, rally support for the park’s rescue, buy T-shirts with photos of coasters or bygone park mascots, or pool their resources to buy the park and keep it operating. On Saturday, he gathered a handful of friends to create signs that could be used in future protests. “We just need to spread the word that this might happen,” Beris said. last_img read more