The last remnants of a defunct amusement park that for 60-odd years drew visitors to test the rides and sleep beneath the redwoods on the south side of the Russian River in Guerneville, Calif., are being cleared this week to make way for development of an upscale poolside and “glamping” resort set to open in summer 2021, according to The Press Democrat.
Most of what was J’s Amusement Park already is long gone, but what’s left is soon to be reduced to heaps of splintered wood, crumpled metal and broken asphalt chunks.
It will be a few months before the next phase in the site’s evolution begins to take shape, but plans call for something decidedly swankier.
San Francisco-based Shelter Co. founders Kelsey and Mike Sheofsky, event producers and purveyors of luxury tents and accessories that give camping a whole new vibe, now own the 11-plus acre property partly framed by Neeley Road, Pocket Canyon Highway and Mays Canyon Road. The company’s creative director, Maggie Wilson, is also a partner in the new project.
The project’s working title, River Electric, was inspired by a desert electric utility van the Sheofskys observed while scouting a different property in an arid part of California some time ago. And they eventually decided just to stick with the name, on the grounds that “if it ain’t broke…,” Wilson said.
Its centerpiece is to be a round pool about 60 feet in diameter, surrounded by a huge lawn and lounging deck. The partners plan cabana-like structures, lawn games and a large pool house restroom with showers and changing rooms.
“It’s a little bit of a throwback to the days of fancy pool life,” when vacationers would spend whole days lounging around with friends between refreshing dips, Kelsey Sheofsky said.
Plans also include a general store offering appropriate poolside grab-and-go food and beverages, as well as local artisanal gifts and goods, some of which still has to be determined, she said.
Overnight lodging will be available on the back half of the property beneath a forest of redwood, Oregon ash and box elder trees. An army of workers with an arborist were working there Monday clearing the entire area of poison oak down to the roots.
About 40 of the company’s high-end canvas tents are currently planned for the wooded area, some perhaps more fully furnished, and others less so, available at lower cost — “for those who want to crash at the end of a pool day,” Sheofsky said.
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