Archive for Thursday, August 17, 2000

Oz gains chamber’s approval

August 17, 2000

Robert Kory came calling on the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce Thursday afternoon armed with a slide show and a request for an endorsement for his proposed theme park and resort.

The brain behind the proposed Wonderful World of Oz Theme Park and Resort is rallying support for his multi-million dollar project as Johnson County Commissioners consider a long list of his company's requests, including money for a $6 million road leading to the park, a $2 million lake and dam and a 30-year tax break.

Kory and other Oz officials have met with the commissioners twice in the last week. Between the two meetings, Kory was looking for some outside support.

After gaining an endorsement from the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, Kory asked for and received one from the DeSoto group.

DeSoto Chamber of Commerce President Pat Atchison polled the members by ballot and close to 80 percent supported the project, she said.

Kory promised the audience of about 65 that the Oz Entertainment Company would work with them to turn the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant into a place that would complement their community.

"What we create out there should be shaped, in some form, by not just our vision but your vision as well," he said.

He gave details of the technology that would be used at the theme park and stressed that it would be unlike anything currently available in the area.

He talked of how visitors to the park would sit in a house and witness a simulated tornado outside its window. Strapped to seats, patrons would see the tornado approach and watch as the roof of the house is ripped off, he said.

They would exit the house through what would appear to be the same hallway through which they entered.

"Only now, when you walk out, you will see the hallway has been wrecked," he said. "The illusion technology will have you convinced it's the same hallway. You step outside and you're in Munchkinland. That's not available at Worlds of Fun."

Calling the 2,000-acre theme park the "crown jewel" of the development, Kory explained what he would do with the remaining 7,000 acres.

There would be residential developments, parks, retail shops, a hotel and convention center and two golf courses, he said. The residential developments would be progressive and open to people of varying incomes, he added.

"It's what they call new urbanism. Houses supported by retail shops in a village-type atmosphere," he said. "The housing would be accessible to a wide, diverse group of people."

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