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Anaheim’s Neighbor to the South Still Trying

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Deepa Bharath of the Orange County Register reports that the City of Garden Grove, which is directly south of Anaheim, is still looking to enhance the area along Harbor Boulevard. Garden Grove has been trying to hitch itself to the Anaheim Resort train for a while now.

Consultant John Husing, respected for his insights into the economy and politics of Southern California, will make a series of recommendations at a City Council study session tonight. He is recommending that the city pursue hotel development and a Wal-Mart, explore “less ambitious’’ theme park ideas and cool off on trying to bring a casino to town.

The problem with trying to develop a Disney-level theme park, especially one tied to a studio, is the lack of remaining options. Disney would probably not want to build a park there themselves, though I wonder if there is any agreement with Anaheim that would preclude that. Cedar Fair, which operates nearby Knott’s, is looking for a buyer. Six Flags just unloaded some properties. Would Busch be willing to build another park close-but-not-close-enough to Sea World in San Diego? I doubt NBC-Universal would take that strategy, either in southern California. Time Warner is still tied in with Six Flags. Perhaps Viacom, which is making deals oversees, but not separated sibling CBS, which unloaded Paramount Parks to Cedar Fair? Why get back into the business? That pretty much leaves Sony, which has some bad experience with location-based entertainment, and Fox.

EDIT: Perhaps Garden Grove could welcome water park Wild Rivers, which is being forced to close by the City of Irvine.

The city’s experience trying to hook theme park developers into the resort area has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride. In the past, developers have brought proposals for everything from a riverwalk much like the one in San Antonio, a music-themed attraction, an aquarium and nature center with wildlife exhibits and even an “Oasis of Peace,” a museum showcasing King Hussein’s history and artifacts. None of those ideas materialized.