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‘Save Colossus’ group seeks historic status for coaster

Six Flags officials say they still plan to close ride Aug. 16

Posted: August 8, 2014 7:22 p.m.
Updated: August 8, 2014 7:22 p.m.

It’s an uphill battle, but organizers of an online campaign to save Six Flags’ Colossus roller coaster from closing have filed nomination papers seeking to win historic landmark status for the 125-foot-tall ride.

“Save Colossus!” campaign volunteers filed nominating documents with the California Office of Historic Preservation this week — probably the first time a roller coaster has ever been nominated for inclusion on the National Historic Registry, said Jay Correia of the office’s registration unit.

But time may work against Colossus’ supporters, he said.

“It’s a five- to seven-month process,” Correia said.

In addition, members of the State Historical Resources Commission, which reviews about 50 landmark nominations a year, just held their quarterly meeting and are not due to meet again until Nov. 7, Correia said.

Six Flags officials again confirmed Friday the amusement park is moving forward with plans to close the iconic coaster by Aug. 16. Spokeswoman Connie Lujan said park officials will make a “big announcement” on Aug. 28 regarding future plans for the Colossus site.

Until then, officials are keeping quiet about what’s next for Colossus, once billed as the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster.

“I can’t say anything,” Lujan said.

Such secrecy has spawned “a lot of rumors” about Colossus’ future, including talk of a possible new, updated version of the wooden 4,325-foot-long structure that first opened in 1978, said Donald Patti, who is heading up the “Save Colossus!” campaign.

“We tried to pin down what their plans are, but all their public relations person told us was that ‘people will be happy,’” said Patti, who worked as a ride operator on Colossus in the mid-1980s.

Patti acknowledged his group likely will run out of time before the state historic commission can take up Colossus’ nomination, but he said organizers decided to push for the designation anyway, hoping it will add weight to their arguments for saving the coaster.

Along with breaking coaster records when it first opened, Colossus has been featured in a slew of TV shows and movies, most notably standing in for “Screamy Meemy” in “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” Patti said.

“People all over the United States remember it from the movies,” said Patti. “It has significance that goes way beyond just being a popular ride at Six Flags.”

Colossus supporters plan to hold a “Save Colossus” rally in front of Six Flags next weekend, Patti said, and the campaign continues gathering signatures for its petition at its website

So far it’s collected about 300 signatures. Organizers are aiming to submit 1,000 signatures to Six Flags’ New York corporate headquarters, Patti said.

“We realize it’s an uphill fight,” said Patti. “But we like challenges. The things that are important in life are not easy.”




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