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Conneaut Lake Park (CLP) Discussion Thread

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Glad the "Blue Streak" was not damaged. You could chop the fallen trees up and replace some of the track n supports for the coaster.


At last an award, but this will still not save the coaster:


ACE has awarded the park’s Blue Streak wooden coaster status as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark..

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Here is a artical in the Erie Times.


Troubled park to open, sort of

CONNEAUT LAKE -- Conneaut Lake Park will stick to tradition and open for Memorial Day weekend.



By Tim Hahn




CONNEAUT LAKE -- Conneaut Lake Park will stick to tradition and open for Memorial Day weekend.


But don't make plans to ride the Blue Streak just yet.


After months of uncertainty about whether they would have enough money to open the 115-year-old amusement park and resort for another season, park overseers decided Wednesday to move ahead with opening at least part of it.


The plan is to open the Hotel Conneaut, Camperland, the Beach Club, Dreamland Ballroom and the festival lawn for Do Wopp Car Cruise Weekend, which is scheduled for May 25-27.


Kiddieland might also open that weekend, if there is enough money, park General Manager George Deshner said Wednesday afternoon.


There are no immediate plans to open the park's adult rides, such as the Blue Streak roller coaster. But park officials are committed to opening them as soon as they have the money to do so, Deshner said.


Do Wopp Weekends have been a staple of Conneaut Lake Park for years. Park officials have used these events to kick off the park's season over Memorial Day, and to bring it to a close over Labor Day.


Do Wopp Weekends are also a big boost to the local tourism industry, as the oldies concerts and other events held during the weekends draw large crowds to the park and the region, said Juanita Hampton, executive director of the Crawford County Con-vention and Visitors Bureau.


Park employees and volunteers are well on their way to getting the facilities needed for Do Wopp Weekend ready for use, General Manager George Deshner said Wednesday.


They have also lined up entertainment for the event, including musical groups the Vogues and the Reflections, according to the park's Web site.


"But there's still work to be done," Deshner said.


There's also more money to be raised in order to pull off the Memorial Day Weekend opening and to keep things operating beyond that.


Park officials had hoped to raise $300,000 through a commemorative coin sale in order to open most of the park's attractions for the season. They have raised about $20,000 so far.


Deshner said Wednesday that he believes it's going to take $104,000 to get the hotel, Beach Club and Camperland in full operation and to possibly get Kiddieland open later this month.


"I'm not worried about the $4,000. It's the $100,000 that I'm worried about," he said.


The coin sale will continue while park officials prepare for Memorial Day Weekend, Deshner said.


Officials hope that funds from the continued sale, as well as the proceeds from the Do Wopp Weekend, will cover the cost of keeping certain parts of the park open and allowing other parts, such as the adult rides, to open later in the season, he said.


While these efforts advance, park custodian H. LeRoy Stearns said he is putting together a committee to develop a more comprehensive plan for the entire facility.


Stearns and others connected to the park are working with county officials to craft one master plan from three previous plans that will "fulfill everything we're looking at" for keeping the park running for years to come, he said.


One of the previous master plans was created by the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County and released in February. Its recommendations include adding residential development in some areas and improving lake access.


Stearns said that plan failed to ensure that "the public part" of the park was always protected under the guidelines of a public trust.


The park has sat in public trust under Crawford County court supervision since August 1997, when then-owner Gary Harris turned it over to a board of directors.


The other plans that will be factored into the final master plan are ones created by Crawford County planning officials, and one created by former park custodian Herb Brill, Stearns said.


Stearns said the five-member committee he will soon appoint would be asked to serve for eight months. The committee will consist of private citizens, a banker, a land-use planner and an educator.


Park overseers also plan to hire a Tennessee consulting firm that specializes in amusement park master planning to assist in the committee's work. The firm's previous work included developing a 10-year plan for Hersheypark in Hershey, Stearns said.


There is about $30,000 in state grant money left over from the development of the Economic Progress Alliance's master plan that could be used to pay for the consulting firm, he said.


@ Information on Conneaut Lake Park's Do Wopp Car Cruise Weekend and on the commemorative coin sale can be found at www.conneautlakepark.com.


TIM HAHN can be reached at (814) 724-6979 or by e-mail.

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4245 tokens sold so far. http://static.cnhi.zope.net/flashpromo/meadvilletribune/pdffrontpage/front_page.pdf


The park opening on July 4th, though good to some extent (at least it's opening), won't help the park that much. They're losing one whole month of a three month season.


I hope they're NOT going to run the hotel restaurant this summer. That was the largest source for them losing money last year. Of the 240k they fell behind last year, 200k was loses from the restaurant alone.

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^ Do anything to get the Bluestreak up and running, right? Hey I agree, I would like to have the coaster run before anything else, but I actually like the hotel's dining room. It always gave a nice atmosphere when you're tired from walking around all day.


Anyway, I remember Conneaut losing a whole bunch of money when their Beach Club was robbed of all of their liquor (Derek? ) a couple of years ago. I'm just saying that they're losing money in other places too...

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They hired a group to run the restaurant? With what money did they hire them with?

Beach club open, restaurant closed, please!


Big question here: There are two main people that run the park, right? And neither of these two can run a restaurant? Sounds like the buddy system again. Hey , bobbie, need a summer job??? We'll pay 10 grand for two months work. and, it's all you can eat!


I've run several restaurants in my life, and it's not that tough, believe me. the main thing is staying alert to your surroundings. Having 5lbs of cheese stolen by employees is one thing, Having 50 lbs of steak, lobster or crab ripped is another thing entirely.



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I don't know how they got the money. They maybe leasing it to them?


When you say 2 people running the park. It is more like one. Leroy took off to NY and left Deshner by himself and he said he will make the final desion by him self Monday. The couple that own the Kaylee Bell has also been volunteering there time to book entertainment for the season and working on the Beach Club.


And I agree they need to open the bluestreak first but...

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Token Count: 4678 as of yesterday.


They should've started this last fall. (yeah, i know, hindsights 20/20...)



Congrats on making the paper, Ken!


Students ponder summer job options if park doesn't open



Kiddieland's Little Dipper was the responsibility of ride operator Ken Jones in 2006. He’s hoping it will be again. (VALERIE MYERS/Erie Times-News)






CONNEAUT LAKE -- Ken Jones has operated rides at Conneaut Lake Park for the past two summers.



By Valerie Myers




CONNEAUT LAKE -- Ken Jones has operated rides at Conneaut Lake Park for the past two summers. The Meadville Area High School junior doesn't even take breaks on the job; he loves the work too much.


This year, Jones has been volunteering at the park the past three weekends, hoping to be noticed.


"I've got my application in," he said. "If they don't open the park, I'm hoping that I can work at the Hotel Conneaut until (the park) opens."


The Meadville High School junior doesn't know what he'll do if the park doesn't open at all. He has been saving money he earned in past years for a family tour of Pennsylvania amusement parks this summer.


"I like the roller coasters," he said.


Conneaut Lake Park is a major employer of area high school and college students each summer. It employs an estimated 75 to 100 young people, mainly as ride operators and in food services.


But this season isn't typical.


Park overseers expected to decide this week if the park, or parts of the park, would open this season, and when. The park traditionally opens Memorial Day weekend, but time is running out to raise the $300,000 that overseers said it will take to order food and get rides and other attractions up and running.


Park officials had hoped to sell 60,000 commemorative coins for $5 each to pay those expenses. They've raised less than a third of that so far.


The park might not open at all or could open later -- possibly for the Fourth of July.


"I don't know where else I'd apply this summer," Jones said. "There aren't that many places around here to work."


Conneaut Lake area adults sympathize. A number of them and their children got their first jobs at the park.


Borough Secretary Betty Sherman's son, now 43, worked for the park's food contractor during his school vacations.


"The ferries were still running in those days, so kids could take the ferry back and forth to work," Sherman said. "It made it nice for them."


Carolyn Stell of Conneaut Lake's Ardis Dress & Beauty Shop helped pay her way through college working as a waitress at the park 50 years ago. Summer workers in those days were mostly from out of town, she said.


"Most of the people I worked with were from the Pittsburgh area. They didn't hire many local kids."


Stell worked at the park's sandwich shop from age 18 through 22. She earned 95 cents an hour.


"It doesn't sound like much these days, but I got room and board and quite a bit in tips," she said.


Stell picked up additional money babysitting for guests at a park hotel.


"Everyone who worked in the park had two or three things to do," she said.


This year, only three employees so far are on the job handling more tasks than that. They're taking reservations, managing park maintenance and trying to be sure that the park is ready to open -- just in case.


Job-seekers aren't the only ones calling to ask what's going to happen, administrative assistant Leisa Leymeister said.


"One man who met his wife when she worked at the Hotel Conneaut one summer have come back each year on their anniversary," she said. "His wife died just before Christmas, but he still wants to come back by himself. He called and said, 'You have to be open.'"


Students who work in the park each summer hope to help grant that wish.


But many seemed to be waiting to see what decision would be made on the park.


Leymeister had just 60 applications earlier this week. The park generally employs about 320 workers each summer.


Conneaut Lake Borough will have a few jobs at least to take up the slack if the park doesn't open. The borough hires local teens as lifeguards and parking attendants at Fireman's Beach each summer.


So far, though, there's been little response to those borough help wanted ads.


"We only got two applications for lifeguards," Sherman said. "Maybe kids have just given up looking for jobs this year."


VALERIE MYERS can be reached at 337-8312 or by e-mail.


Last changed: May 11. 2007 4:57AM

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Thanks FlyingSkooter.


That is right it is 24k but managment is waiting word on a grant that is needed to open of 104k. That is the only way the park can open. But George is determained to open Memorial day weekend. I think he has a back up plan if they don't get the grant.

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Conneaut park woes making for memorable holiday

Thursday, May 17, 2007


By Milan Simonich, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette




CONNEAUT LAKE, Pa. -- There's nothing fun about a 115-year-old amusement park that is so broke it cannot open its rides and restaurants.


Nonetheless, managers of Conneaut Lake Park have gambled what little money they have by booking five bands and renting out all 120 rooms of the complex's hotel for Memorial Day weekend.


Customers who have reserved rooms for what is being billed as "Do Wopp, Car Cruise Weekend" telephone the park each day to ask if it will be open by May 26, as advertised.


George Deshner, Conneaut Lake Park's director of operations, tells them he hopes so. But, he said yesterday, he cannot offer any guarantees, given the park's shaky financial standing.


He estimated the park needs a gift of at least $100,000 to open a portion of its rides and attractions on Memorial Day weekend, its traditional kickoff date.


Mr. Deshner previously said the park needed $300,000 to carry it through its 12-week season. He revised his goal downward after a rich donor did not step forward.


Because it is about $2 million in debt, the park cannot borrow money. After three bankruptcies under private owners, the park became a nonprofit community enterprise whose business operations are overseen by Crawford County Common Pleas Court Judge Anthony Vardaro.


Earlier this spring, Judge Vardaro rejected the park's plan to sell 3.3 acres on its lakefront for $1.7 million. The money would have enabled the park to pay down some debt and open for the season.


Mr. Deshner's office is about the only sign of life in the park in Crawford County, 95 miles north of Pittsburgh. Nine people remain on staff. The park should have 40 to 60 working now, Mr. Deshner said.


So poor is the park that it cannot afford to fix the Blue Streak Roller Coaster, its best-known attraction. The 69-year-old coaster needs repairs on its timber and tracks. It will not be operable until at least the Fourth of July, even if the park opens sooner, Mr. Deshner said.


The park's century-old hotel is essentially ready for business, but the hotel restaurant is not, he said. Neither is the Beach Club, a night spot in the park where food and drink are supposed to be plentiful.


Mr. Deshner said he needs $30,000 just to staff and stock the restaurant and club. Conneaut Lake recently collected about $18,000 by selling commemorative $5 tokens in a campaign called "Keep the Park Open."


That amounts to about all the money the park has. Even so, LeRoy Stearns, court-appointed overseer of the park, and Mr. Deshner decided to spend $6,500 as a partial booking fee for the bands that are to perform on Memorial Day weekend.


They signed The Vogues and The Reflections as the featured acts for the Do Wopp celebration. Now the park is on the hook for the rest of the bands' fees.


Mr. Deshner admits the holiday will not be festive unless somebody who loves the old park showers it with a six-figure donation.


"We know we might alienate customers if we can't get it open," he said. "But we can't set it back any more than some of the people who left this place a disaster."


Conneaut Lake Park was closed in 1995 and part of 1996 after a private operator went bankrupt.


Mr. Deshner said the park has a few more days to try to collect the $100,000 it needs to open on Memorial Day weekend. If the money does not come in by the middle of next week, he said, he probably will have to revise his plan and try to open by the Fourth of July.





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^ Yes there are still seasonals and they are already moved back in.


Here is a TR of today at CLP.


I went to CLP to volunteer. I got there about 11am and I went to the Office to find George so he coud give me an assignment. He was not there so I look at the Hotel he was not there either. I talked with Bandana Bob who is a well known supporter of the park. He was Planting flowers in the hotel lawn. After I went up towards Kiddie land. and I saw the Tubs for the Tubs of fun were laying out. So I went to investigate. To my surprise all but 4 rides were put together. The ones that were not assembled were The Tubs of Fun, Boats, Auto Cars, and Saturn Shuttle they were also getting the big Carousel ready. There was a group working on the rides lead by Don Shantz head maintmence. I talked with him for a while and then I left to look for George. I was walking by the midway and I saw Dreamland Ballroom's door was open I thought he was in there I went in and found another Volunteer working on placking staples out of the wall I asked if he seen George and said He just left to fetch a ladder. So I waited for him. When he got there he told me I can work on getting dreamland ready. I seep the whole foor which is huge. At lunch George treated us to pizza and Pepsi. He was in a very good mood today. And had a talk about the Bluestreak. After I did more work around Dreamland. Lter I wentto show him the News on Ace about the bluestreak being declared an ACE land mark. That got him 90% determained to get it open now. He said he will contact them later. I also asked him if Greg Sutterlin was still going to put in Fright Zone. And he said yes. I also ment the new guy who will run Personel and He is a cool guy and I like his ideas. He said he wants to do an Employee off the month and of the year. And he wants to crackdown on people smoking at there stations. But he wants to do shifts but that will not work because we neverget enogh eople to work there.


Well thats it and It's good to hear kiddieland will open.

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Yeah, I'm going to be staying in Meadville this Friday. I'd love to catch a few rides on Saturday, but apparently this isn't going to happen. Is it just me, or is this a lost cause? This park just doesn't seem to be economically viable.

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