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Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Oz study proposal outlined

Johnson County commissioner explains position on theme park

April 25, 2001

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— Just days after Gov. Bill Graves signed into law a bill giving Oz Entertainment Co. an extra year to win approval for its proposed theme park, Johnson County Commissioner Annabeth Surbaugh on Monday outlined her recommendation for a feasibility study on the plan.

The commissioners had asked the Legislature to extend the July 1 deadline to give them time to conduct an independent study of the project. The Kansas Senate and House approved the extension earlier this month, and Graves signed the bill Friday.

Surbaugh wants consultants to review the project's attendance projections, the county's costs and revenue and the project's financial feasibility.

Commissioners said they are willing to accept Surbaugh's requests for the study because she is the key swing vote on the project. Commissioners have deadlocked 2-2 twice on the project, which has tabled the proposal.

Although Surbaugh has voted against the project twice, she said if a study deems the project favorable to the county she would reconsider her opposition.

"I'm the one whose opinion is at stake with this study," Surbaugh said. "That's why I felt some responsibility to come up with (an) option."

Oz Entertainment Co. has proposed to develop the former 9,065-acre Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant near DeSoto into a small community. The centerpiece would be The Wonderful World of Oz, an $860.5 million, Disney-style theme park and resort complex about 25 miles from downtown Kansas City, Mo.

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