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Kings Island to unveil new attraction

Whatever Kings Island plans to build to replace the dismantled Son of Beast wooden roller coaster requires more than 100 round concrete piers, Mason city records show.

Park operators said they will unveil plans for a new world record-breaking attraction at the 364-acre amusement park and waterpark in Mason at 1o p.m. Aug. 8.

In a press advisory Wednesday, park officials called the event the “most anticipated new attraction announcement in Kings Island’s history.”

Mason city government does not have jurisdiction over amusement park rides, said Chief Building Official Gregg Nicholls. But building structures are subject to building code, such as concrete foundations, stations for ride cueing lines or ramps to board rides.

Plans were submitted to Mason’s Building and Zoning Department in March for the concrete foundations. The plans show in excess of 100 round concrete tiers. On Wednesday, park officials submitted to the city preliminary 2014 electric plans.

“All we know is it’s going to something big. I would imagine it’s a roller coaster,” said Jeffrey Seifert, a writer for industry publication Amusement Today.

Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Amusement Ride Safety issues permits and licenses for amusement rides, conducts ride commissioning and does safety inspections. The office would be notified of plans for a new roller coaster, said spokesman Brett Gates. As of yet, Gates said they’ve not received such notification.

Kings Island has about 40 acres of open space to develop, including the former sites of Son of Beast and Thunder Alley go-kart area, said Kings Island spokesman Don Helbig. Not that the new attraction would consume all that space.

Construction on the new attraction started April 22, Helbig said. Helbig would not confirm if plans are to build a new roller coaster. But the park has released a series of clues, he said.

Throughout this park season, visitors might have seen scarecrow displays, barn owls or signs that read “no camping,” Helbig said. A wall was erected next to the construction site. Visitors would have heard screams coming from behind the wall.

Local media received a clue in the mail Wednesday — a broken comb strewn with fake hair.

“All I can tell people is it’s going to be exciting,” Helbig said.

In 2012, Kings Island opened a $10 million expansion of its waterpark Soak City. In 2011, the $5 million ride Windseeker and the approximately $1 million Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit of animatronic figures opened.

The most recent roller coaster to open at Kings Island was Diamondback in 2009 for $22 million, the park’s biggest single investment to date.

Kings Island is operated by Sandusky, Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., which also owns the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky. Cedar Point opened this year with a new roller coaster called GateKeeper.

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