HOUSTON, TX – Halloween is right around the corner and if you’re in for a good scare there’s no shortage of places to go here in Houston. One of the longest-running haunted attractions in the city is Phobia – 28 acres of scares and dares to tickle your darkest delights.
“We employ hundreds of kids,” says owner Paul Nacol, “a lot of them it’s their first job.”
But after 17 years of thrills and shrills the future of this place is uncertain. Last year Phobia’s owner was informed by the Texas Department of Transportation that construction along Highway 290 would mean closing his business. A year from now the park will be a water retention pond. Where Phobia will be, is anybody’s guess.
“They do not value the actual value, the good will produced by a company,” Nacol says. “It’s strictly about relocation. They’re incompetent and uncaring and untimely.”
TxDOT says they don’t have a timeline yet for when Phobia will have to be gone, but they are working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. In the meantime, Nacol has closed three of the park’s eight attractions. Phobia now has less than a year to find a new location and rebuild everything they’ve spent nearly two decades creating. The big question is how they’re are going to pay for all of that.
“I don’t know,” Nacol admits. “I’m really concerned about this business. I’m afraid Phobia is in trouble.”
Nonetheless, he vows to be open again next year. Where and what it will take to get there are the scariest questions of all.