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Cedar Point opening delay forces cuts in Sandusky

https://www.13abc.com/content/news/Cedar-Point-delay-forces-cuts-in-Sandusky-569985901.html

 

SANDUSKY, Ohio (WTVG) - The City of Sandusky is making cuts. The Lake Erie town relies heavily on the tourism industry for cash, and this year, due to COVID-19, the budget is busted. Sandusky City Manager Eric Wobser anticipates the city could lose anywhere from $5-10 million in revenue due to the pandemic.

 

A majority of that cash comes from Cedar Point. Wobser said the city receives all of the park admission tax and also gets a big boost from lodging and income taxes all tied to those visiting or working in or near the park.

 

At this time, Cedar Point has not announced an opening date, simply saying they anticipate it could be sometime in mid-May, but that remains to be seen. Wobser said everyday Cedar Point delays opening, it adds up to a loss of $71,000 in tax revenue for Sandusky.

 

That tax money accounts for 50-60 percent of the annual operating budget. In an effort to stay out of the hole, the city is already making cuts. City administrators have taken a 10 percent pay cut through the end of the year, new projects and programming is on hold, and within the next week, Wobser anticipates layoffs for some city employees. He did not indicate how many people could be out of work but said the first round of cuts will not include any safety services.

 

Wobser said the pandemic is pinching progress. In the past five years, the city has secured more than $300 million in development. Ongoing projects will continue, including the new campus space for BGSU, Cedar Point and the Shoreline Drive project but new items, like road repairs, are on hold.

 

"Even being in a strong position going into this, there's no way to plan for that steep of a cut," said Wobser.

 

There are more than 100 businesses in downtown Sandusky that remain closed due to COVID-19 and Wobser said it is hitting everyone hard; the tourism trickle down will have an effect on the local shops.

 

"This couldn't have come at a worse possible time for them. They had a slow winter and should be gearing up for visitors," said Wobser.

 

At this point, the city is tightening its belt, and Wobser is calling on leaders in Washington to step in and provide funding for municipalities like Sandusky that rely heavily on tourism dollars to survive.

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I just show that about the city. I have been keeping an eye on this.I just really enjoy going up to the Lake and Cedar Point. If people can not go out on the lake or say go to put Inn Bay that will all hurt them and the city around Sandusky. Just know your next trip to the point might look Different, might have fewer hotels to pick from. Might be worth trying to leave the park to support a local restaurant

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Yeah. This is severely hurting the City of Sandusky.

A quick Google search found me this;

 

Sandusky, Ohio (Pop. 24.7k) - Income Tax Revenue - $13,121,939 (HAS CEDAR POINT)

Norwalk, Ohio (Pop. 16.9k) - Income Tax Revenue - $6,576,006 (NO MAJOR THEME PARK)

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They don't have the staff to start testing rides at this time. You will see job fairs posted before the rides test. What they have said is that it will take 6 to 8 weeks to open once they get the okay from the State.

That's under normal circumstances.

 

So over 300 million in development over the past 5 years and Sandusky still looks like a shithole? Maybe the city is managed like the typical American household where it never saved any of its extra income or prepared for any type of large scale emergency. Instead, it has to hold its hand out to Washington. I don't know there budget. I'm admittedly making ignorant assumptions. But, I'm willing to bet the reality of this scenario behind a large percentage of households and businesses.

 

I got offered a job from another municipality this past fall. One of their selling points was that as opposed to my current municipality, their township could go an entire year without one cent earned and still sustain.

 

Just an ironic comical observation I'll share from other social media outlets: A lot of the same people who were constantly complaining because Cedar Point was too expensive are the same people who are using Sandusky's Cedar Point tax income struggles as justification for why the park should open. God I love Facebook!

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A single maintenance worker can test and cycle a ride.

 

When I worked for Cedar Fair as a ride-op, the ride operators still needed to cycle each ride a fairly large amount of times to make sure that the ride will function properly day to day under normal circumstances. I'm sure that maintenance needs to cycle rides their way as well, but what's that going to mean at a 2+ op ride/rides with more than one panel such as coasters? Pre-season cycling also gets ride-ops familiar with their attractions to better operate them when/if guests do show up. And once when a ride I worked at was down for over a month, the ride operators needed to cycle it again and again so that it could be re-cleared for guests.

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So over 300 million in development over the past 5 years and Sandusky still looks like a shithole? Maybe the city is managed like the typical American household where it never saved any of its extra income or prepared for any type of large scale emergency. Instead, it has to hold its hand out to Washington. I don't know there budget. I'm admittedly making ignorant assumptions. But, I'm willing to bet the reality of this scenario behind a large percentage of households and businesses.

 

Ignorant indeed.

 

One thing no one seems to ever mention is that most businesses in the Sandusky area, particularly along Route 250, are in Perkins Township, NOT Sandusky. Thus, you have all of those big businesses who are NOT contributing to the Sandusky tax revenue, despite being in the same market. Luckily, the Erie County bed tax helps with this in hotels but doesn't do anything for sales tax or income tax. Despite being a city that has declined in population, with a rash of area manufacturing facility closures leading to job losses, the city still manages to balance the budget. The current situation is absolutely unprecedented.

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I probably shouldn't have been as blunt with my statements as I was, now that I re-read that. I should have shifted the tone toward being more speculative, or simply asking. Maybe even googling... My reference is how my own city functions and the modern American financial philosophy in general, which was me kind of venting frustration. Sorry if I offended anyone from Sandusky.

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A single maintenance worker can test and cycle a ride.

 

When I worked for Cedar Fair as a ride-op, the ride operators still needed to cycle each ride a fairly large amount of times to make sure that the ride will function properly day to day under normal circumstances. I'm sure that maintenance needs to cycle rides their way as well, but what's that going to mean at a 2+ op ride/rides with more than one panel such as coasters? Pre-season cycling also gets ride-ops familiar with their attractions to better operate them when/if guests do show up. And once when a ride I worked at was down for over a month, the ride operators needed to cycle it again and again so that it could be re-cleared for guests.

 

What you said is true - rides will need their crews to become familiar with running them and cycle them empty a bunch before guests arrive, but I was responding to the comment that we won’t see testing because Cedar Point doesn’t have the staff to do so right now. Maintenance workers are able to test and cycle rides in maintenance mode without any ride ops whatsoever, even rides that have multiple panels, that’s what maintenance mode is.

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They don't have the staff to start testing rides at this time. You will see job fairs posted before the rides test. What they have said is that it will take 6 to 8 weeks to open once they get the okay from the State.

 

Cedar Point has more than likely started hiring back in December. I know Dorney Park has been hiring since December and have been doing phone interviews and Skype interviews since this whole thing started. Id imagine CP has been doing the same.

A single maintenance worker can test and cycle a ride.

 

When I worked for Cedar Fair as a ride-op, the ride operators still needed to cycle each ride a fairly large amount of times to make sure that the ride will function properly day to day under normal circumstances. I'm sure that maintenance needs to cycle rides their way as well, but what's that going to mean at a 2+ op ride/rides with more than one panel such as coasters? Pre-season cycling also gets ride-ops familiar with their attractions to better operate them when/if guests do show up. And once when a ride I worked at was down for over a month, the ride operators needed to cycle it again and again so that it could be re-cleared for guests.

 

Not sure which park you worked at, but when i worked at dorney, maintenance usually ran the coasters and some other bigger rides during preseason during the day. Dorney then does a training day called Sim Day, where all the departments train as though the park is open. So all the coasters and other rides are running all day. All the ride ops get their training in and all the rides get their number of cycles in. One night when i was working in preseason, i helped run the bumper cars for a little because the ride supervisors were getting the ride through its 100 cycles.

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On some CP fan site forums people are popping up saying they've been hired in with Mid to Late May start dates to get things rolling. So it looks like the park is still actively hiring which is a positive. Obviously no one knows when they will open but at least it's looking like the park itself is operating with the intention of a Mid to Late June opening by bringing in the seasonal staff.

 

Being someone who has worked every day through this, I assume the restrictions of 10 or more people wouldn't apply to most of the activities that can be performed daily for training, pre-season. But, you don't need more than 10 people at a ride to cycle and train, you shouldn't need more than 10 people in a gift shop, warehouse, food stand to train. My only concern would be the housing and how that will be handled, especially if there is an outbreak amongst the employees.

 

Also, as a former ride op, it literally takes about 15 mins to learn to operate a ride, the rest of the time is literally just cycling it for "practice" or to get the required amount of pre-season cycling in. Numerous times through my 5 summers operating rides we would be sent to a ride we never operated before about 30 mins before park opening and be fine by the time the park opened.

Edited by WolfBobs
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I can't imaging the PR issues if COVID spread like wildfire throughout the employee housing or when (not if) guests start claiming they came down with it at CP. In some ways, are you better to just stay closed? I don't know... This is for every park though, not just CP of course. Will be interesting to see how the next few weeks/months roll out in the park industry.

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^Agreed every park (and business) is taking a risk, but so is every person who visits and where is that line drawn? If a person voluntarily visits a park, gets COVID-19 and ultimately dies, should the park be held responsible? I personally don't believe so, but you know, in our society people will sue. People always sue.

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^Agreed every park (and business) is taking a risk, but so is every person who visits and where is that line drawn? If a person voluntarily visits a park, gets COVID-19 and ultimately dies, should the park be held responsible? I personally don't believe so, but you know, in our society people will sue. People always sue.

 

I completely agree. Eventually, people just need to take individual responsibility and not rely on the park to protect them. Just as it has always been before this virus came around. Frequently wash your hands, don't touch your face, and watch how your actions affect others.

 

If someone has health issues or is high-risk for the virus, or any virus, then they shouldn't go! If somebody isn't comfortable going for ANY reason, then they shouldn't go! There is ALWAYS a risk with going out in public, and there always will be, and I hope people will eventually assess their individual situations and decide what they should and shouldn't do and not rely on the park to place them in a bubble and protect them.

 

But like you said, given our sue-happy society, I can see somebody catching the sickness and suing the park for "not doing enough to protect them."

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Would you be willing to sign a waiver saying you know the risk and entering at your own risk?

 

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200416005890/en/Cedar-Fair-Outlines-Measures-Response-COVID-19

That is what I was talking about not hiring. So thinks might have changed over the last few weeks but they did more layoffs then hiring.

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Honestly? For me personally I will have to see what is in place before deciding if I am going to visit this season or not. With the season pass extended through Dec 2021 I am in no rush. If I personally feel I am low risk and the park has done it's best to protect it's employees and guests within reason then I may, just to get out and enjoy some sun. But, again I will have to see what the restrictions are, safety measures in place, and if I feel comfortable. It'll be a personal choice lol.

 

Smaller parks I may feel more comfortable with, Waldameer, Indiana Beach, KK...

 

But if part of the parks policy to handle this is to have guests sign waivers I would be comfortable doing it personally.

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^Agreed every park (and business) is taking a risk, but so is every person who visits and where is that line drawn? If a person voluntarily visits a park, gets COVID-19 and ultimately dies, should the park be held responsible? I personally don't believe so, but you know, in our society people will sue. People always sue.

 

I completely agree. Eventually, people just need to take individual responsibility and not rely on the park to protect them. Just as it has always been before this virus came around. Frequently wash your hands, don't touch your face, and watch how your actions affect others.

 

If someone has health issues or is high-risk for the virus, or any virus, then they shouldn't go! If somebody isn't comfortable going for ANY reason, then they shouldn't go! There is ALWAYS a risk with going out in public, and there always will be, and I hope people will eventually assess their individual situations and decide what they should and shouldn't do and not rely on the park to place them in a bubble and protect them.

 

But like you said, given our sue-happy society, I can see somebody catching the sickness and suing the park for "not doing enough to protect them."

 

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Individual responsibility relies on people having the proper information to base their decisions on. The amount of misinformation around Covid, both intentional and unintentional, is such that at this time I would not expect anyone to be equipped to protect themselves.

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