By now, ground was supposed to have been broken on a 500-acre "green" theme park in New Caney, around 30 miles north of Houston. But a funny, and wholly unsurprising, thing happened after an unvetted consultant, dubious Dallas developer and secretive Montgomery County taxing district announced the project: It turned to shit.
EarthQuest was going to have a glacier, mountains, a volcano and freaky sea creatures. It was going to be unlike any other amusement park, drawing millions to Texas each year while teaching kids about the importance of conservation and renewable energy. Instead, it's been perpetually stalled in a vague "planning" stage, making a lot of money off taxpayers for a close circle of associates.
It probably would've remained that way forever, or at least for a few more years, had not an inquisitive publisher and editor of a local paper called The Tribune started poking around and found some interesting things, such as: The proposed site for the mega-park was tied up in bankruptcy court, a slightly important detail that the folks at the East Montgomery County Improvement District never cared to share with the public.
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There appears to be no accountability for the Improvement District, which appears to exist solely to line the pockets of its president, Frank McCrady. The unpaid board members we were able to speak with were friendly, but they didn't seem to actually be aware of what the park is/was supposed to include, and just how outlandish the whole thing looks.
Honest leaders with a realistic plan could probably build something cool in that area, but such people seem to be in short supply. So until then, we'll all just have to enjoy EarthQuest as it exists now: in a series of pretty drawings.
Read all about it in "Fantasy Land," this week's cover story.