Harrison County

New FunTime USA will be double the size and budget-friendly. Here is what’s planned.

By spring 2019, families will pass Humpty Dumpty and enter the world of FunTime USA once again.

The big egg is one of the survivors of the amusement park that was demolished when Hurricane Katrina washed away the family attraction in Gulfport.

The park is being rebuilt in Biloxi near Edgewater Mall and Humpty Dumpty will again be perched at the entrance.

“The wall he’s going to be sitting on will be made with bricks from the old park,” said Rafe O’Neal, whose family operated FunTime for 27 years before it was demolished in 2005.

He and investors, the Parrish and Welch families, developers of several projects including the new student housing at USM Gulf Coast Campus, are operating as Gulf Amusements LLC. They hope to start work on the “new and improved” park very soon, he said.

The park will be an affordable, clean, secure and modern facility with 17 attractions, the company said in a press release. The project was approved Wednesday by the Biloxi Development Review Committee and on 8 acres near the beach, it’s double the size of the original.

O’Neal said, “The property is so perfect for what we’re doing,” which he said is bringing back several of the original attractions and mixing them with old favorites and new thrills.

The design places the entrance at the north side of the landscaped parking lot that separates FunTime USA and Beau View condominiums. To the left of the entrance, along Walmart Lane, will be a goofy golf course with a shipwreck, lighthouse, castle, octopus and other fun built into the 18 holes of miniature golf.

The map the developers presented to the DRC shows an expanded midway with games and carnival concessions.

Classic rides that generations of people remember, like the Tilt-A-Whirl, the Scrambler and the Spider, are to the right of the entrance along with the original Alan Herschell merry-go-round that began operating at the park in 1980. Bumper boats also are returning.

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Rafe O’Neal poses with some of the 36 FunTime merry-go-round horses in storage, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Tim Isbell Sun Herald file

At the center of the park the Pepsi Pavilion, sponsored by Allen Beverage, will provide a shady place for birthday parties and special events. At the back is the go-kart track.

O’Neal said he’s also working with a company to bring a wood-fired pizza restaurant to the new park that he says will be like a walk in the park.

Seymour Engineering of Biloxi, with Nancy Depreo as lead designer, designed the park to preserve the nearly 70 large oak trees on the site, O’Neal said. Landscape architect Dianne del Cid, with Architerra of Ocean Springs, is adding to the garden-like setting of the park.

“Family fun for everyone,” O’Neal said, is what the park will offer when it opens in the spring.

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