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Long Beach looks at bringing back waterfront roller coaster

October 01, 2013|By Bob Pool
  • An undated photo of the Long Beach waterfront shows a long-gone roller coaster perched by the sea.
An undated photo of the Long Beach waterfront shows a long-gone roller coaster… (Los Angeles Times )

What goes around comes around, some in Long Beach are saying about a proposal to rebuild the city’s famous seaside roller coaster.

City Council members will be asked Tuesday night to authorize a feasibility study into the construction of a two-lane “racing” roller coaster on a 2½-acre site near either the Long Beach Aquarium or the Queen Mary.

Backers of the project say they have lined up investors for what designer Larry Osterhoudt calls the Cyclone Racer coaster.

City Council member Gerrie Schipske wants the city manager to determine the feasibility of the coaster project, which she said “would create considerable tourism dollars” for Long Beach.

Schipske said the city has squandered opportunities in the past to capitalize on attractions such as the battleship Iowa or the Port Disney amusement park.

Long Beach’s love affair with roller coasters dates back to 1907, when the city’s first roller coaster was built. In 1915, the Jackrabbit Racer was built over the water next to what was called the Silver Spray Pier.

The city obtained a more elaborate Cyclone Racer in 1930, with cars on separate tracks racing each other. By the time the roller coaster closed in 1968, some 30 million people had ridden it, Schipske said.

Osterhoudt envisions recreating both the Silver Spray Pier and the Cyclone Racer coaster, which he has predicted would be “the world’s greatest ride.”


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