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Hollywood Sports Park
by Bill Mills - April 2002
WARPIG readers may remember an article announcing the plans for the Hollywood Sports Park. The brainchild of SC Village owners Dennis Bukowski and Giovanni Degidio, this theme park in Bellflower, California is nearing completion for a Summer 2002 opening.
Building the park turned out to take about a year longer than initially planned. There were a number of delays, including the near cancellation of the project due to the discovery a protected species of hawk nesting on the property. Literally days before paperwork would have shut down construction, a freak tornado destroyed the tree in which the bird had been nesting, putting the park on track. The hawk has since been sighted in the area and may once again make the park its home. According to Degidio, the city of Bellflower is now looking at the park as the centerpiece of community redevelopment and is even getting a commuter railroad line relocated to allow the park to have an expanded parking area.
Hollywood Sports Park is being built as a multi sport complex with a motion picture theme. Included activities for park goers are paintball, rock climbing, BMX racing, off-road go cart racing, BMX freestyle jumping, inline skating, skateboarding, video gaming, beach vollyball and more.
The park’s central building features a two-story arcade sponsored by Namco and featuring their games. Also in the building are a pro-shop and restaurant which is decorated with portions of the interior sets from the film The Haunting. The restaurant is designed to become a nightclub after dark. A wrist-banding system will be used in all of the park’s sports areas to prevent nightclub patrons from re-entering a sports area after consuming alcohol.
A dirt track in the rear of the park will be used for BMX racing, and next to it is the ramp facility. Ramps and half pipes are being designed and built by the designer of the Gravity Games competition ramps who also has built ramps for the X Games. The park’s climbing wall goes a bit beyond what climbing gym enthusiasts are used to – it has a waterfall cascading down its side. Beach volly ball courts and picnic pavilions will be used to host corporate events and opening parties for motion pictures.
The paintball section of Hollywood Sports Park will run the game in a different way than most paintballers are used to. Along a main thoroughfare, players will stand in lines, just like at a typical theme park. At preset intervals groups of players are led from the lines into briefing rooms where they will be shown a DVD safety briefing, as well as instructions for the scenario they are about to play. Each of the park’s fields will feature up to eight different scenarios. From there, the players will be led by the field staff out to their field of play through the central netted walkway.
The control tower for the field manager looks rather like an air traffic control tower and overlooks all of the playing fields to coordinate game start and stop times and player traffic through the walkway. Each field is uniquely themed. Some of the field themes include (with actual props and set pieces from the films) Starship Troopers, Water World, a Greek labyrinth and ruins, a bombed out city, and more. Hollywood propmasters and set craftsmen are being used to convert these sets for paintball use, and give them a realistic look. The Water World towers, for example look like they are made or ragged, rusted steel plates and pipes, which would be quite a hazard to players. In reality they are made from modern materials, and coated with layers of foam and paint to give them their decrepit look. What is starting as framing and sculptured concrete mixtures is becoming textured and painted to look like ancient stone walls in the Greek ruins.
The fields are somewhat small from a traditional paintball standpoint, to allow for more props and bunkers in the given space. To compensate for the shorter ranges, the park will set their velocity slightly lower, 270 fps is the expected limit which will be adjusted as the fields are play tested.
Not only is the physical construction for Hollywood Sports Park progressing, but so are the business partnerships as well. Corporate sponsorships, like at other theme parks are being locked down as the park is built. Very few of the sponsorships are with paintball companies, most are non-paintball “major brands” though the Hollywood Sports Park has signed an agreement to shoot Diablo Paintballs exclusively. A national campaign is planned with the Coca Cola company that will involve specially labeled cans promoting the park. The Hollywood Sports Park promotional staff is working to tie in motion picture and video promotions with sections of the park taking on themes to match new releases.
Even incomplete, the Hollywood Sports Park fields are extremely impressive, and it is expected that after opening they will fast become one of the nation’s “must play” fields.
To take a photo tour of the Hollywood Sports Park construction site, Click Here.
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