Roller coaster coming to Clinton Township

C.J. Barrymore’s expansions also include zip line, drop tower

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 31, 2015


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Since 1974, Rick Iceberg has tried to combine value with entertainment, offering the community a plethora of fun-filled adventures.

Iceberg owns C.J. Barrymore’s, located off of Hall Road in Clinton Township, known for its batting cages, miniature golf and go-kart tracks. Hoping to stay relevant and adapt, Iceberg is adding something that might throw people for a loop — literally.

He’ll begin construction on a 36-foot-tall roller coaster this fall.

Iceberg said he’s not trying to compete with amusement park behemoths like Cedar Point — he just wants to add variety to an already eclectic venue.

“It gives us one more dimension. We have a huge variety of customers and try to appeal to everybody,” Iceberg said. “(The roller coaster is) the kind you find on the boardwalk on the Jersey Shore.”

It’s the kind of coaster you’d find on the Jersey Shore because that’s where it came from. Iceberg bought it from there, painted and refurbished it.

The roller coaster is one of several, albeit the biggest, expansions at the location as the economy recovers. The current expansion is expected to cost around $5 million.

“We’ve been pretty lucky our sales have grown every year since ’08, and this year we’ve been up again, and hopefully the roller coaster will take it up another notch,” Iceberg said.

A site plan has already been submitted, and each mode of construction requires township approval from the Board of Trustees.

Township Planning Director Carlo Santia said the development plan essentially includes five phases, which will inevitably increase the price of the entire expansion.

Santia added that nothing about the expansion made him weary, as the construction and additions will take place in a good area that is isolated from residential areas. Bright lights and noise pollution are not issues.

“(Iceberg’s) got quite a bit going on, so ultimately I’m guessing it will be triple that ($5 million) amount,” Santia said. “And it’s good for Clinton Township and Macomb County in a lot of ways: Obviously, the construction work he’s going to create will include people coming into the community and hopefully spending money at restaurants and things of that sort. Long term, it sounds like it could become more of a destination location, which would necessitate hotel areas that accommodate guests and more restaurants.

“I think it’s a good thing; it will help not just Clinton Township, but also nearby communities.”

Township Supervisor Bob Cannon was blunt about the appeal of C.J. Barrymore’s.

“People come from miles around (to visit) — Oakland County, Wayne County, as well as our own county,” Cannon said. “Expansion is good for our county, and people will be coming from 100 miles away.”

A few other additions and renovations are taking place beginning already and through the next couple of years.

A 66-foot-high drop tower will be constructed. Iceberg said he had the idea years ago but “chickened out” during the recession years.

“It shoots (you) up, drops you down and scares the heck out of ya,” he said.

A 110-foot-tall zip line will be placed on the back of the property. It will involve two seats lifting off and flying over the go-kart tracks and near the back of the batting cages.

Also, one of the go-kart tracks will be completely remodeled in 2016 and will be a loop-to-loop experience. A second roller coaster is expected to be erected within the next year or two, and a two-story laser tag room will add to the indoor experience.

The main building will see expansion, including in the kitchen, for events. The arcade, bowling, bumper cars and concessions have already seen some renovations.

Bowling was the biggest addition, according to Iceberg.

“That was a great move; that really changed our company,” he said.

Iceberg started C.J. Barrymore’s with a driving range and a go-kart track. Years later, he is proud of what the venue has become.

With the help of three managers who have nearly 80 years of combined experience, he said he can’t complete these additions without all of their help and input.

“Right now, our business is fun because we’ve added so many things that have been successful, and it’s getting bigger,” Iceberg said. “Hopefully we can continue adding. You’ve got to keep reinvesting in your business. Customers like to see when you put money into your business.

“We are becoming a real nice place.”

Santia said the roller coaster construction is expected to begin Oct. 1. A meeting between Iceberg and the Planning Commission will take place Sept. 10, and the Board of Trustees’ decision is expected to be part of the Sept. 21 meeting agenda.

“We will continue to add for the next 10 years because we have a lot of property, lot of space,” Iceberg said. “You’ve got to continue to grow. If you don’t change, you’ll die.”