CHARLOTTE — The Ohio company that owns Carowinds says it will spend $50 million to expand the theme park near Rock Hill on the South Carolina-North Carolina state line.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. officials told a Charlotte business group last week that the company will add rides and attractions, upgrade food locations and make infrastructure improvements.
Richard Zimmerman, the Sandusky, Ohio-based company’s chief operating officer, did not go into details about the expansion.
“I ride everything we build, and I can’t wait to ride what we’re going to build at Carowinds,” Zimmerman said.
Cedar Fair announced in 2011 that it had bought 61 acres of vacant land next to Carowinds’ parking lots and near Interstate 77.
Zimmerman said work will begin next year and will take several years to complete. The expansion will create 15 permanent jobs and 270 additional jobs.
Carowinds is 40 years old and has 13 roller coasters.
The expansion will make Carowinds one of Cedar Fair’s largest parks among the 11 it owns in the United States, Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said the Charlotte region and Carowinds have shown strong momentum, and that helped convince company officials to invest more in the park.
He said specific changes are being worked out. The company will study traffic, infrastructure and parking, among other things.
The parking area may be moved but Zimmerman said the entrance will remain and be upgraded.
“We’ve got some exciting things in terms of what you’re going to see when you arrive at the park,” Zimmerman said. “We’re really working on the arrival experience for our guests.”