Bringing the Zippin Pippin to Green Bay

Mayor Jim Schmitt

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — One project championed by the mayor was the opportunity to bring the Zippin Pippin to Green Bay. The rollercoaster started the journey to the city back in February of 2010 when it was in the process of being torn down from its location in Memphis, Tennessee.

Talks began to bring the coaster to Bay Beach Amusement Park, a decision that some in city council did not agree with at all. At a city council meeting, one alderman suggested future amenities to Bay Beach come from private funds rather than city bonding. Others said it made sense for the city, which owns the park, to invest the money when its the city earning the profits.

“That’s the world I live in,” said Mayor Schmitt at the time. “Everything’s debated here. There are people who said this is a no-brainer, and other people say it’s too much risk. I don’t know. This is a good deal for Green Bay. This is the right thing to do. It’s the right thing for Bay Beach. It’s the right thing for our community.”

Some city council members also argued they were moving too quickly to bring the ride to Green Bay. Others said it would pay for itself within 10 years. The city approved the project in March of 2010.

And reconstruction on what’s been dubbed “Elvis Presley’s favorite rollercoaster” began in August that same year.

The rollercoaster was built brand new, with the city paying $10,000 for the design and naming rights and even a few of the original pieces. It’s a ride with a rich history that supporters admired.

“It’s a wonderful ride that has a very rich history to it. That’s what we’re celebrating here today, and that’s what we’re going to have here for many many years to enjoy.”

The Zippin Pippin officially opened for riders on May 21, 2011. It quickly became a fan favorite.

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