GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WKBW) — Niagara Amusement Park and Splash World, the name of the former Fantasy Island on Grand Island, is expected to be open to the masses beginning Memorial Day weekend.
"What we're going to do is a phased opening, with our initial concentration on the water park, Kiddie Land, and Western Town," said Tom Crisci, spokesperson for IB Parks and Entertainment, the park's parent company.
Crisci tells 7 News that they're targeting mid-summer to open the midway.
The phased opening is because of challenges installing new rides, including a classic shuttle loop coaster. Crisci blames the harsh winter weather and supply chain issues.
"You know a lot of times these parts are coming from overseas, so from the original ride manufacturers or that nature," said Crisci.
The company is now hiring for the 2022 season. Job postings are currently on the park's website for lifeguards, ride operators, guest services, security, maintenance, and more.
Tickets are not yet available for purchase. Crisci anticipates tickets will become available in late April or early May. The company is still working out ticket pricing, but Crisci says the pricing will reflect the amount of park that is open for use.
For people who live and work on Grand Island, this reopening is a big deal.
"Well it is significant for us because this has been part of Grand Island for 50 years, and to see it fall into disrepair and be vandalized was very disheartening," said Grand Island Supervisor John Whitney.
Business owners are also eager to see more people on the Island who will patronize their establishments once Niagara Amusement Park and Splash World reopens.
"It seems sort of empty without it right now," said Jodie Barrett, co-owner of Brick Oven.
Many people hope the revitalized park will be reminiscent of the original Fantasy Island, a family-friendly destination.
"I think it will really be a success if it preserves the family fun child park, doesn't try to be something that it isn't," said Marilyn Carmichael, a retired Grand Island High School teacher.