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Conneaut Lake Park (CLP) Discussion Thread

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Today I recived an email that makes me cry, Here is a copy of it


It is with great sadness that I have to cancel the Blue Streak Challenge for 2006. Conneaut Lake Park will not open this summer due to financial difficulties. Thank you all for registering and wanting to help maintain this great coaster. I will refund your registration fees within a couple of weeks.



Kelly Petrachkoff

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I wonder if you got every member of the coaster clubs, ECC, ACE, TPR, coasterzombie, westcoaster, everyone to send in $20, how much would that raise. I couldn't do it, but if people could get the word out, I know I would gladly send in some money to save a great coaster.


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Park expected to get funds it needs to open


By Jane Smith


05/03/06 — The on-again, off-again opening of Conneaut Lake Park appears to be on again.


Twenty-eight hours after park officials laid off 30 employees Monday and announced the park would close unless $250,000 was received by Friday, the news had changed.


The park is expected to come to terms today with a new lender willing to provide the money it needs to open for the season. A similar arrangement collapsed Monday, leading officials to lay off the employees and set a Friday deadline for a final decision on the opening.


“It looks very promising to the point we have recalled all our employees back to work and will continue preparations for opening,” court-appointed park overseer LeRoy Stearns said Tuesday.


Stearns said he will seek an expedited court hearing to ask Crawford County Court of Common Pleas Judge Anthony Vardaro for approval of the loan terms.


Since the amusement park was declared a charitable trust, the court has to approve all loans.


Stearns asked the court last week to approve the concept of selling 3.3 acres of land at the park to generate enough money to pay off the park’s $1.9 million debt and give it the $250,000 it needs to open.


He said plans for the sale will proceed. The only contingency for the loan is that it and all other outstanding loans be repaid with the sale of the property.


Stearns said all events scheduled at the park will go as planned, except for this weekend’s volunteer cleanup event. Since two days of work were lost (Monday and Tuesday), some other preparation work must be done before volunteers can be called to work.


Stearns expects the cleanup will be rescheduled before Memorial Day weekend — the park’s traditional opening.


“It’s great for us as long as we can get in there and get stuff operating. It will be great,” said park maintenance worker Jerry Smith. “We are playing our rollercoaster.”


The past week has been quite a rollercoaster for the park. Last week it won approval from Vardaro to begin planning the land sale park officials believed would secure a $250,000 loan to open. Everyone went into the weekend believing everything was OK. Then came Monday’s dramatic setback as the loan deal dissolved and Tuesday’s reversal as new loan deal emerged.


Now everyone is holding their breath and waiting for the judge’s approval.


The 114-year-old amusement park has been closed for only one season, in 1995 after a local group that owned the park declared bankruptcy. The next year Gary Harris purchased the park and reopened it, operating it for the 1996 and 1997 season before turning it over to the Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park in trust for the people of northwestern Pennsylvania.


The park fell under court management when its original board dwindled to one member. Membership fell when one board member sued the rest over an agreement they made with Harris.


Since that time, however, the park has been declared a charitable trust.



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Sweet Jebus! This darn park has more "will it, won't it" moments than most television dramas and soap operas:


The park is closing unless they find money...


But wait, they may have found some money in the cushions of the sofa...


Oh wait, sorry, that was just a bunch of cheese curls...


But cheese curls are a type of currency in some foreign countries...


But we're not in that foreign country.


I don't think this park will have very good business this year simply because people can't remember whether the park is opening or not this year!


I'm changing the channel now, just tell me what happens on the season finale and if the park does it or not. Yeesh!

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You know Derek, there is a lot of doubt, but for those of us that have been going to the park for the last 25 years, have seen some things happen.


In the early 80s the park seemed to be doing great, very clean, always lines for the rides, and two trains on the Blue Streak, and there was never a ride closed! Then, come the 90s a slow down hill slide, then an announcement the rides were being auctioned, and the Blue Streak was history. But someone stepped in, and bought back all of the rides, and the park stayed open. And so on and so on, I am sure everyone knows the story by now.


So you may ask, what is my point? Then comes the 00 years, things looked bad, the park seemed run down. Rides were not open, there was always doubt if the park was going to open at all, as there still is today. The big change however is that if you have seen the park every year, in the last 5 years, you would have notice a lot of improvements. A lot of new paint. Rides are opening that have not been opened in previous years. As it sounds now, all rides with the exception of the Ultimate Trip should be open by on Memorial day. Maybe not the train, but they say by July 4th.


I guess what I am getting at is Maybe another year will bring this park around? Maybe it won't, we will just have to wait to see.


I guess I just see it differently, because of sentimental value, but I think this old girl still has some life left in her, one way or another.


Okay, here it goes, I am going to try my hand at a TPR sig!


Todd "wasn't Cedar Point a gonner 35 - 40 years ago" Simmers

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With all of the changes I think everyone knew this was a do or die year. That's why they are on the brink of success or failure right now. One ruling the wrong way and they could be finished. But I think the loan was the last big question mark as I can't see why the judge would not approve it. The great thing is that the property sale will pay off most of the debt and they can start making a profit. I've been very impressed with the new park GM and more recently the court appointed guardian. Talk is cheap and now we are seeing some action.

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Conneaut Lake Park will open pending approval by judge


Jane Smith


04/05/06 — By Jane Smith


meadville tribune


Only one hurdle remains for Conneaut Lake Park to open this year: For Crawford County Court of Common Pleas Judge Anthony Vardaro to approve a $250,000 loan from First National Bank of Pennsylvania to the park.


“We got the loan!” an excited LeRoy Stearns said Wednesday. Stearns, court-appointed overseer of the 114-year-old amusement park, said he will submit the paperwork for Vardaro to review and sign as soon as possible. The park needs the money to complete final preparations for its Memorial Day weekend opening.


The park already has one loan with First National; that amount will now be raised to $500,000. “The $250,000 will be basically an extension of a loan the bank gave us before,” said Stearns.


“We feel really good as a community bank to be able to provide this to Conneaut Lake Park,” said James Kirk, senior vice president of the Erie office of First National Bank. “There are a lot of jobs which would have been lost,” he added, referring to the 280 people expected to work at the park this season.


The only requirement in the loan is that it and all other loans be paid back at the time the park completes a proposed sale of 3.3 acres of land at the park.


Stearns got court approval recently to begin planning the sale of land around and including the former Flynn House site.


With funds from the sale, Stearns plans to pay off the park’s $1.9 million debt as well as the new loan.


But even as the park appeared to clear a major hurdle, a character from its past cast a shadow over the good news. Former park owner and operator Gary Harris filed a motion Wednesday asking the county’s Court of Common Pleas to give him more time to respond to the proposed sale. He said there are remaining issues that require consideration before any liquidation of property.


In 1997, Harris turned over the park to a board of trustees to operate the facility in trust on behalf of the people of northwest Pennsylvania. He then engaged the park in a series of lawsuits, claiming a variety of land parcels and materials such as amusement rides weren’t included in the transfer of ownership.


Over a period of years, various judges and courts threw out all of Harris’ claims.


For that reason Stearns is confident Harris’ most recent legal maneuver will not have an impact on the park’s loan and effort to prepare for this season.


Wednesday’s announcement of a loan deal marks a week-long saga over whether the park will open this year.


Late last week, Stearns got court permission to plan the land sale and said he was confident that permission was all he would need to secure a loan. That deal collapsed on Monday, however, and that same day Stearns laid off all the park’s workers. At that time Stearns said that unless the park secured $250,000 by Friday, it might not open this year. The situation took a dramatic change Tuesday as Stearns called all the park’s workers back and announced a deal was nearly done.


The park is under court oversight because the board of directors put in place after Harris’ ownership eventually dwindled to one as controversy over how to handle Harris split the members.


In 2004, the court declared the park a charitable trust.



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