|The greater Niagara Falls area is now one of two sites being considered for an indoor-outdoor Oz theme park.
Richard Burch, principal with Oz Central, which holds the license for Wizard of Oz-related products and books, said Wednesday that both Niagara County, specifically a site in Wheatfield, and Houston remain in the running.
Oz Central is a group of entrepreneurs who are looking for a large piece of land to build a theme park that would rival some of the country's best-known attractions. The group was in town Wednesday to present a 110-page business plan to interested parties, such as USA Niagara Development Corp. and representatives from Niagara Falls and the county.
Burch says three things stand in the way of the group coming to the Niagara area: a feasibility study, a site, and a Star Bond program, which is a financing tool that requires state legislation.
Since a feasibility study, which is a costly business-planning tool, does not exist for the Niagara region, the business plan presented Wednesday was based on industry standards and a wealth of information provided by Canada, Burch said.
"The Canadians have a very clear vision ... and a plan of action to get there," he said.
City Administrator Daniel Bristol attended a meeting with the Oz principals, and said he was encouraged by what he saw, but said financial support from the community is required.
"I think what they're really looking at is, is the city/community interested?"
Bristol said he would give Oz's business plan to the economic development team at City Hall for their review.