Gurnee village board members have officially rolled out the welcome mat for Goliath.
Trustees voted 6-0 on Monday to grant special permission to Six Flags Great America for construction of Goliath, expected to be the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. Great America officials say Goliath will debut next year.
Some concern about excessive noise filtering from Great America to a nearby residential neighborhood was raised by Trustees Thomas Hood and Steve Park. However, Village Attorney Bryan Winter said deciding whether Great America should be allowed to exceed a 125-foot height restriction with Goliath was the issue at hand Monday, and that noise could be addressed separately.
Great America President Hank Salemi said the park will do what it can to reduce noise from various attractions because it doesn't want to be a poor neighbor.
"We do not want to disturb anyone in any way," Salemi said.
Mayor Kristina Kovarik said village staff will work with the park on the noise concerns. Gurnee has the authority to measure decibel levels at Great America's property line to determine if they are above what's allowed by ordinance, she said.
As for Goliath, it will be the biggest roller coaster added to Great America in its 37-year history. It also will be only one of three wooden coasters in the United States with a 180-degree roll.
Plans call for the roller coaster to reach a 185-foot peak and travel at 72 mph. Along with the height and speed, riders are expected to be thrilled by Goliath's 85-degree drop.
Goliath is pegged for the theme park's County Fair area where the Iron Wolf roller coaster once stood. Iron Wolf operated from 1990 to 2011.
Last month, the advisory Gurnee planning and zoning board voted 5-0 in favor of granting the special permission for Great America to build the coaster. That positive recommendation was forwarded before Monday's meeting to the village board, which gets the final word.
Six Flags representatives hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for Goliath even before Gurnee gave its official approval for the ride. It was a celebration before the Labor Day weekend attended by about 100 coaster enthusiasts and dozens of Six Flags employees and executives.
Gurnee and Great America officials say new rides historically have boosted attendance at the park. Gurnee levies a 3 percent amusement tax on Great America tickets, which are projected to generate $2 million in revenue for the current budget and accounts for most of the category's income.