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QUEENSBURY -- Great Escape has a new leader this week as Don McCoy, park president for the past six years, leaves to manage a different Six Flags park.

Six Flags Entertainment Corp., owner of Great Escape, on Thursday announced Eric Gilbert’s appointment as the new park president.

“I have a strong vision for this property because I’ve lived it,” Gilbert said Thursday. “I was very excited for the opportunity to come back here — it’s a romantic, traditional, historical and strong emotional place in the hearts of the folks who work here, used to work here or visit here.”

Gilbert has been working for Six Flags since 1990, and has been general manager of Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark, located across from the Great Escape amusement park, since 2011.

Gilbert’s appointment as park president was effective Wednesday, spokeswoman Rebecca Close said.

Gilbert replaces McCoy, who has served as park president since 2007 and will now be park president at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California, a position Gilbert held previously.

Gilbert also previously was director of operations for Great Escape between 2000 and 2007, and was working there when the lodge and indoor waterpark were built.

McCoy is already in California meeting with his team at the new park, Gilbert said Thursday.

Gilbert hopes to balance the preservation of tradition at the park, while also infusing new technology and events, Gilbert said.

He also wants to build on what McCoy did during his tenure at the park by continuing a tradition of community outreach and working with local charities, he said.

“Don has done an exemplary job at the Six Flags Great Escape properties and his skill set makes him the perfect person to fill the newly vacant role at our San Francisco park,” said senior vice president John Odum, in a statement. “Eric’s experience and knowledge of the Great Escape make him an excellent match for the theme park and resort.”

Great Escape is scheduled to open May 18, and plans to open the new ride Screamin’ Eagles during the 2013 season.

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