05-27-2006, 03:28 PM #1
Just Announced...Theme Park and Animal Kingdom...
Theme Park and Animal Kingdom Planned for Bonifay
by Christopher Mitchell (email@example.com)
News 13 On Your Side
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Bonifay, FL - Officials with the economic development council in Holmes County say Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom's Jim Fowler is planning to open an animal park in Bonifay in the very near future. They say chamber officials will participate in an official announcement May 31st and give further details at that time on what the animal park includes. While declining to comment on details regarding a planned music theme park also in the area, officials say they'll yield any comments at this time to the developer of that attraction.
While details on the theme park and animal park attractions are sketchy, officials did say that both attractions expect to employ somewhere between 1,500 to 2,000 people and that significant economic impact will be felt in communities within a 60 mile radius.
News is now hitting the streets of Bonifay about the attractions and the impact they will most likely have on the small community within the next five years. Maston Borden has lived in the rural area since the early 1900's. He says he's bracing for the dramatic change that will make his town into what he calls a bedroom community. "I think the worst thing that will be missed here, if the place builds up, will be this small town atmosphere where you know everybody and everybody knew you," he says.
Economic development leaders say in the next five years, hardly anyone will even recognize the small town of Bonifay. Most residents say they're excited about the attractions that may be coming to Bonifay, but many say they have reservations about how their town is about to change. Larry and Stephanie Bailey are among them. "I'm thrilled to hear it," says Larry, "because I think it's going to be a real boom for the area." His wife agrees, but with reservations. "I'm afraid that we're going to lose some of our small-town appeal. I enjoy being able to go, walk down the street and know people and feel safe with my kids at the park," she says. Larry is a real estate agent and says he had already learned of the music theme park news. The community has known about the Jim Fowler animal kingdom park plans for two years.
Mr. Borden says he hopes the change doesn't come too quick. "I'm for the parks coming in," he says. "100% in favor of it. I'm just hoping that the growth that comes in will be gradual enough that it can be handled."
Bud Revere of the Holmes County economic development council says that Jim Fowler plans to sign off on securing the land around Smith's Lake either Tuesday or Wednesday for the new animal kingdom park. He says this will NOT be a theme park. He says his office is reluctant to discuss any details pertaining to the music theme park News 13 learned about until the land deal is sealed and the developer is ready to make that announcement. Revere did say that combined, the attractions will employ between 1,500 to 2,000 people and will have a significant economic impact on communities in a sixty mile radius. Further details pertaining to the Jim Fowler Park will be provided by chamber leaders May 31st in an official media conference.
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