EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 22, 2013

Canobie Lake Park seeks more parking

By Doug Ireland

---- — SALEM — Big things are happening at Canobie Lake Park.

When guests come to the 111-year-old amusement park this year, they may see a few major changes.

First, as they pull onto North Policy Street, they will see a new ride — The Equinox — twisting and twirling in midair.

Then, when they get ready to park, they may find there’s a lot more spaces available than in the past.

That’s because park representatives are scheduled to go before the town Planning Board on Tuesday to present plans for 350 additional parking spaces, according to Salem planning director Ross Moldoff.

The board, which meets at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, will hold a public hearing on the proposal to expand parking at 75, 79 and 85 N. Policy St., Moldoff said.

If approved, the number of parking spaces would be increased to 2,577, he said. Two homes at 75 and 79 N. Policy, both small lots, would be razed to provide parking, Moldoff said.

Canobie purchased the lots 15 to 20 years ago and would welcome more parking, park spokesman Chris Nicoli said.

Thousands of people visit the park on a typical summer day, so shuttle buses are used to transport visitors to and from Canobie, he said.

“We currently utilize one large off-site parking area on days we anticipate the need, but are excited that this project will reduce that need,” he said.

Nicoli said Canobie has also been working to improve traffic flow outside the park. No other expansion projects are in the works, he said.

Anyone who hasn’t been to the park since last summer will see The Equinox, which arrived at Canobie in October with only five days left in the season.

The attraction features three large mechanical arms that lift riders 75 feet into the sky while spinning and swinging at the same time.

The Equinox replaces the Matterhorn, a longtime favorite retired from use in 2008. A hot dog stand occupied that spot in recent years.

It’s the newest ride since the arrival of the popular roller coaster, Untamed, two years ago.

More parking and a new ride aren’t the only big things happening at Canobie.

Last year, the park received a landscaping award from the town. Canobie was also used for the filming of the movie “Labor Day” starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.

About 200 members of a Hollywood film crew took over the park for a six-hour period in August, filming scenes before the park opened for the day.

Canobie opens for the season April 27, but first it’s looking for hundreds of people to fill seasonal jobs, Nicoli said.

The park will hold its annual job fair March 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More details on the job fair are available at canobie.com.