Detroit, MI (written by Megha Satyanarayana/Detroit Free Press) -- An area man has an idea for Detroit's vacant land issues that could use some brains.
Marc Siwak, 40, is trying to raise $145,000 to buy or lease abandoned property to build Z World Detroit, a zombie apocalypse-style theme park. He said it would be kind of like a paintball or flag football game, with actors playing brain-eating zombies and players trying to kill the hordes before they, too, become the walking dead.
With the city's discussions continuing about reducing services and investments in less stable areas, and a plethora of urban farms and green spaces under way, Siwak sees the zombie park as yet another creative way to breathe life into an otherwise rotting part of Detroit.
"I think we have a great opportunity to do something unique. Can't we do something more creative than just walking away from chunks of the city?" he said.
"I just want people talking," he said. And, talking they are beginning to do -- on blogs and with news reports around the Internet.
But city officials are not biting.
"No. And the city has no additional comment on this proposal," mayoral spokeswoman Naomi Patton said in an e-mail on whether the city's Planning and Development Department would consider the park a suitable means of land use.
Siwak, who works in Detroit in the field of finance, suggested building the park on the near-east side of Detroit, where much of the land is owned by the city, so he would have to buy or lease at least a portion of the land from the city.
He said the park is inspired by the Heidelberg Project and would create jobs, and even in maintaining a ruined look, buildings would be fixed up and made safe.
Theme-park veterans are concerned, if not curious, about what Siwak is proposing.
"It's an OK idea. You really have to know what ... you're doing, otherwise it's a pipe dream," said James Zander, owner of Futureball Paintball in Whitmore Lake and a 46,000-square-foot paintball facility in Livonia.
Zander, too, has tried to build a theme park in the city using vacant land, but said the Archer administration wasn't interested.
"We were just looking at a couple of city blocks. They were totally against it," he said.
"This will take a ton of work," Siwak said.
Siwak's fundraising efforts will continue until Aug. 10 at www3.indiegogo.com/zworlddetroit. He has received about $5,500 in pledges. More than money, "Realistically, it needs to attract a local developer," he said. "We're just some people with an idea."
Far-fetched? Maybe, but the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse is scheduled to open in September, in time for Halloween. Tickets start at $15.