SkyPark at Santa’s Village should be open in late summer 2015
Mountain residents and visitors alike fondly recall the days when Santa’s Village, located just off Highway 18 between Running Springs and Sky Forest, was the spot where Santa Claus and cold weather activities made Lake Arrowhead a great wintertime destination in Southern California. According to Bill Johnson, project manager, under the name SkyPark Santa’s Village, the facility will reopen on or around Aug. 1, 2015, ushering in a new, year-round vacation-destination era for the San Bernardino Mountains.
“Our mission statement is to provide the public with an outdoor experience, creating memories of wonder, thrill and camaraderie,” said Johnson, at a Municipal Advisory Council meeting held last month in Lake Arrowhead. “There will be a mix of activities to attract all ages: mountain bike trails, hiking trails, zip lines, and fly fishing, snow shoeing, sleigh rides, sledding and other types of snow play.”
A fan of forest playgrounds, Johnson wants the park to encourage kids to get out into the fresh open air. So he plans to build treehouses, swings and teeter totters in the trees as well as climbing walls. Also on tap for SkyPark is a 200-seat restaurant, an ice cream and candy shop, a coffee and tea house, a Christmas shop (which would be open year round), a bakery, a wedding chapel and an activity center that would rent equipment such as bikes, fishing and climbing equipment.
Surrounded by trees which were hammered by a bark beetle infestation, the location is in dire need of restoration. To that end, the Mountain News reports that Johnson has filed permits with Fish and Wildlife, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. Existing buildings already feature new roofs. So the only newly proposed building will include restrooms for a campground, to be built across the street and behind a hill, so that it does not impact local residents. Additional improvements to Highway 18 would include wider roads and a protected turn, as well as a potential pedestrian signal, so people will be able to safely cross the highway.
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