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Utopia Studios & Theme Park-- Connecticut


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#1 GAcoaster

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 08:30 AM

From Greenwich Time

Voters approve eastern Connecticut studio, theme park idea

Associated Press

May 23, 2006

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Voters in Preston on Tuesday approved a proposed $1.6 billion movie studio and theme park project that backers say will pump tax revenue and tourist dollars into eastern Connecticut but opponents fear will lead to crowded roads and other urban problems.

The unofficial tally was 1,330 to 1,023, or 56.5 percent in favor and 43.5 percent opposed.

The vote ended nearly three years of discussions, negotiations and planning. Preston officials now will sign an agreement to develop the 419-acre site that would include production facilities, a school of the arts and entertainment parks.

Developer Joseph Gentile spoke with voters Tuesday, answering questions and engaging in last-minute lobbying on behalf of his proposal.

"You've got to make yourself accessible," he said. "I'm really proud there's not a campaign here. It's been a grassroots effort."

The stakes were high, said Preston First Selectman Robert Congdon, who supports the project. If voters had rejected the proposal, a "base of opposition" could have blocked future projects for the former Norwich Hospital property, he said.

"You already are going to have a base of opposition, so it's going to be hard to get the town pulling in one direction," Congdon said.

The town will now sign a nearly 300-page agreement committing Utopia Studios, which is based in Melville, N.Y., to conduct an environmental cleanup study and pay Preston $50,000 for a consultant to monitor the study.

Utopia will also put about $13 million in escrow to cover town taxes and other obligations during the first four years of construction, Gentile said.

Building the project would involve 4,700 construction workers. Construction could begin by the end of 2007 or early 2008, Gentile said.

"Then it will go pretty quickly," he said.

The state owns the property, and Preston has an option on it until January 2009.

Supporters believe Utopia could help establish a broad-based movie industry in the state and boost the economy of Preston and eastern Connecticut. Opponents say the project's scale could transform the region's character with more traffic and further development.

State Sen. Cathy Cook, whose district includes Preston, said the $1.6 billion project is "hard to get your hands around."

Cook, who is not a Preston resident and has not taken a position on Utopia, criticized Gentile for failing to answer questions about the project's impact on roads and police protection.

"If she had questions, she should have shown up at informational meetings," Gentile said. "I think there were 10 of them."


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#2 Coaster Guy84

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 08:58 AM

To be honest I didn't think the voters were going to approve it. Connecticut has such fickle people when it comes to big projects like Utopia. But I'm glad to see that they are going to develop after all and it's going to be interesting to see what they do with the site!
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Posted 24 May 2006 - 11:13 AM

Can't wait to see more announcements as to what is going in the theme park(s), and the construction projects.
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#4 drummgm

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 12:51 PM

^Eastern CT, huh...I don't live near there(since CT is sooo big ^_^ )I live close to NYC. So will this be like a Movie studio that is actually active, or will it be more of a theme park like Universal Studios. Either way, more attractions for CT then just Lake Compounce!!
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#5 twg519

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 02:12 PM

YEAH!!!! :banana: :heart: It's supposed to open in 2009. I was so happy when I saw the results, I live just 20 minutes away from there. Let's just hope it isn't some trashy park :puke: , but it probably will be very nice :thumbsup: !

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#6 RobbW

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 02:23 PM

... And their off to the races, they jumped the first hurdle, lets see if they can jump the rest and actually get the park up! I wonder if they will put some coasters in there? This could be a very good thing or a very bad thing, only time will tell
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#7 twg519

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 04:57 PM

Wait...is this going to be an indoor themepark? Because I read in a couple places that it will be an indoor/climate controlled park? I hope not, I'm not sure how far you can go with an indoor themepark. Are there any ones worth going to and if so can you show me pics? Thanks.
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#8 Guest_majortom1981_*

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 05:42 PM

What is this utopia Studio's. There office is supposed to be in Melville Long ISland. I work around there and never seen it before. Anybody have any ideas on who they are?
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#9 lil jimmy norton

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 06:09 PM

I never heard of them. Is it anywhere near Mystic Conneticut. Took a trip there in Januaray. Lets just say I traveled 4 hours to sleep in a motel and eat Fridays. :D
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#10 snowboard101

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 10:38 AM

I first heard about this proposal like a year and a half ago and completely forgot about it and now that I think about it, it kind of worries me.

Lake compounce doesn't really get all that much business but it's a really nice park and what worries me is when this whole utopia thing opens up it will surly take allot away from lake compounce and it could eventually in the long run put it out of business possibly.

That is the way I see it but that's just my opinion but on the other hand this sounds preddy cool for all of us in CT!
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#11 WeeZeR8976

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 11:07 AM

If they do build it Ill live 9 minutes away from it. A couple of people in my college dont want them to tear down the hospital. I must say, it is a very nice hospital with very nice archetechure. I pass by the site were utopia is gonna be built almost every day. The buildings go on for about a mile. In the hospital there is all toxic waste a crap like that. It was closed down 10 years ago, so it's been there for a while. They have had enough time to think of what to do with it.


One of the buildings



What they want it to look like

Edited by WeeZeR8976, 21 June 2006 - 11:08 AM.

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#12 justanotherperson

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:42 PM

This park's name is Utopia and coincidentally in Connecticut! hahaha Connecticut.
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#13 Guest_majortom1981_*

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:46 PM

I work and live near melville and I never heard of utopia studios let me do some research.
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#14 Guest_Kingdom_Dweller_*

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:47 PM

A couple of people in my college dont want them to tear down the hospital. I must say, it is a very nice hospital with very nice architecture.

One of the buildings

Wow, that is a beautiful building...
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#15 Guest_majortom1981_*

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:56 PM

No wonder why I cant find anything about them. They are a development group and not an actual studio.

How do they expect to build a studio for movies and stuff if they have nobody to film at it?
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