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Bally buys Great America

CHICAGO -- Bally Manufacturing Corp. Tuesday announced a $114.5 million tentative agreement to purchase a seventh amusement park, Marriott Corp.'s Great America in north suburban Gurnee.

Bally plans to expand and improve the 325-acre park in Gurnee and change its name to 'Six Flags Great America' in line with Bally's six other Six Flags parks in St. Louis, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston and New Jersey, Bally president Robert E. Mullane said.

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Bally, which is based on the city's North Side, is one of the largest manufacturers of amusement devices in the world.

Exact terms of the agreement are still being finalized, but Mullane said Bally expected to have control of the park by Memorial Day, the start of the amusement park season.

By mid-summer, Bally hopes to have a $4.5 million 'Colorado Rapids' ride in place at the park. The ride would simulate the actual raft ride along the Colorado River, Mullane said.

Bally has also planned to install a $12 million water park adjacent to the amusement park that would feature water-type rides, Mullane said.

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