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Conneaut Lake Park (CLP) Discussion Thread


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How is the park doing this years from those that go there from the area on a financial perspective? I know they had some major problems with previous management and money. I have not seen much in the community on where they stand on financials and curious if they rounded the bend or not. I know they where beating the Pepsi thing a few times but have not seen anything from that recently.

 

Does it look like they have a small plan to restore now over the years and getting out of the red? Previous management seemed to try to make the park the attraction for the area instead of a compliment the area. Does new mgmt know the actual attraction is the lake and by levering it properly can provide some attendance here and there?

 

The last pictures I have seen do not provide a good ROI if not done properly is why I am asking. I can see this as time goes a long shot to get back with the proper mentality, patience and a few extra $. However, I have not been in the area more than twenty years and not sure how the current market is.

 

This also brings up another question. How supportive is the local government and community? This makes the difference on that support.

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^^^ As long as you don't sit over an axle near the rear of the train, the coaster is not really all that rough, really re-ridable. In just the last two weekends, I am nearing 200 rides on the coaster (major chunks of hours of riding near non-stop.) Most of those were in the middle seat in the last car. Best seat on the ride.

 

^ I don't know the financial specifics but I do know that the Swank Conneaut Partners are investing serious money into the park. The people they have involved with the park now are some of the best and have great plans laid out - they are EXACTLY what this park has needed. The SCP and the Trustees both realize that they won't have much success without investment. I've seen this first-hand this season; the park looks 1000 times better now than when they opened at the start of the season. I can't wait to see what next year brings - probably more excited about this than any other awesome new coaster being built for next year.

 

Not only are the SCP investing, but Structural Technologies, Inc (STI, the group working on the Blue Streak) have some really awesome plans for the park. They know their stuff, and are really dedicated to getting the ride, and the park, back into shape. The Trustees could not have found a better match for the park. Leonard Adams (manages the gang @ CLP and his father owns STI) is one of the nicest people I have met, and really has a passion for what he does.

 

Finally, the Trustees know what still needs to be done. They understand the challenges and have demonstrated this in the improvements this year.

 

The Park has a long recovery ahead of it, but it looks promising. Attendance is recovering. The smiles of the people, both young and old, are there. I can retell many stories overheard on the platform of the Blue Streak- stories of childhood memories, from stealing a kiss in the tunnel of the Blue Streak to JUST being tall enough to ride with a parent. Countless people who have not been to the park in 10, 20, 30 years have returned - and enjoyed! New memories, too - family reunions and plenty of weddings!

 

The best way to support the Park is by visiting - I hope you all consider doing that. I wish that I could really convey how much this place means to me, and so many other people, but it is something that cannot be explained.

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  • 1 month later...

I don't live terribly far from this park and have just wanted to check it out. But I recently saw a commercial for their haunt event, "Ghost Lake." I am infatuated with the idea of the 'abandoned' park concept. Like others have said, this event could rock with more funds. I have heard it really does rock, already. Anyone go to the event this year? And do they do anything different to the Blue Steak for the event (it's called the Ghoster Coaster). Finally, is the Blue Streak included? I have been getting the vibe that it is not, although the website sort of makes it seem that way. Thanks!

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Creepy, I was just reading about Conneaut elsewhere when I jump over here and find this is the highest topic.

 

I need to get to this park soon. I used to like traditional amusement parks, but still take them for granted as just one of a number of enjoyable park styles. However, my preference for them has increased quite a bit. So this sounds like my kind of park. Seems they still have an interesting, if modest, ride collection, too.

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I don't live terribly far from this park and have just wanted to check it out. But I recently saw a commercial for their haunt event, "Ghost Lake." I am infatuated with the idea of the 'abandoned' park concept. Like others have said, this event could rock with more funds. I have heard it really does rock, already. Anyone go to the event this year? And do they do anything different to the Blue Steak for the event (it's called the Ghoster Coaster). Finally, is the Blue Streak included? I have been getting the vibe that it is not, although the website sort of makes it seem that way. Thanks!

 

First off the event truly kicks a$$... they load all 8 haunts with the most energetic/crazy people I have ever seen in any haunted attraction. Plus it already has the creepiness of the abandoned park atmosphere and the already haunted hotel.

 

I helped construct the houses for its opening year in 2008 and worked it in 2008 and 2009 helping with various positions. I highly recommend paying ghost lake a visit as I have only seen the event improve and top itself the last few years.

 

And yes the Blue Streak is included you get 1 free ride with admission and $3 for each additional ride and the bumper cars and devil's den are also open for $2 each. I haven't visited yet this year (Going Friday) but last year they filled the tunnel with fog and had several lights inside and on the lift. But the journey through the dark woods is the best part.

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Hey, thank you for the information. I don't live very close to this event. However, I am trying to convince some of my friends to drive out there with me. It sounds like an all together pretty awesome time. I have literally always dreamed of an event just like this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thieves strike again http://www.goerie.com/article/20111024/NEWS02/310249912/Thieves-steal-$10000-worth-of-copper-from-Conneaut-Lake-Park-roller-coaster

 

Thankfully the coaster was not damaged aside from the missing copper which doesn't affect operations. Blue Streak was running great all weekend. Ghost Lake is also kicking ass and taking names. The line for blue streak stretched down the midway past most of the games all of saturday nite with a wait of approximately 1.5 Hrs. The front parking lot was filled to capacity! Ghost Lake will likely be keeping the park in the black from now on.

 

Also more work has been done to the track and the ride is improving greatly. Get the last rides of the season in this weekend. Ghost Lake is also open Halloween!

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The thieves probably got $50 bucks for it. Why do they let recycle places even take copper cable or wire. They need to clamp down on them and the thieves wouldn't steel it. Right now the street lights are out in my area because the copper wire has been stolen.

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Seems to be a lot of criminals around that park. Stealing cable, catching the place on fire, etc...

 

Oh well, maybe they can go for more Pepsi money this year.

 

- 300 ft of copper power cable.

- A few security guards.

- A few surveillance cameras.

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I think the big problem is that the park is built in the middle of a neighborhood with no fences or security...too easy for jerks to just walk around there late at night and loot, start fires, etc...

 

1.5 hour line for Blue Streak? Wow...we were thinking about going down Saturday night, but they are calling for rain and snow showers. We we may opt for Friday night instead if I can get out of work at a reasonable hour.

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  • 6 months later...

According to E-Mails filed as part of a lawsuit by the former rides manager of the park, the Blue Streak, in his opinion, remains a public safety hazard to this date.

 

Honestly, just the reading of the e-mails, this park is doomed probably more so than ever. The Board of Trustees appears to be using it as their personal play ground with little to no motivation to get things done properly and in a timely fashion. Almost as if they are managing by hoping the problems will fix themselves. Again, just judging solely based on the evidence in the lawsuit, they need to make some serious changes for long term viability.

 

If they would have just given him back his french fry fryer...

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What to remember: Swank had nothing to do with the operation and maintenance of the Blue Streak. Lenny Adams and his company are responsible for that. They do work on coasters across the USA, and I expect that they would not operate a coaster that was a danger to the public. They have too much to lose by doing so.

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According to the court documents, Swank replaced a few hundred feet of track wood at his own expense, not quite sure why he would do that if he didn't have something to gain from it other than possibly bringing in more people to the park or if he was the one to foot the operational costs for the Blue Streak and then gains from the revenue received from it(I do not know the answer to that one). That being said, I'm not saying he was the one to maintain the ride as we know Adams did the rework on it, but it's quite obvious it's going to get ugly, quick.

 

Something else hit on in the e-mail exchange dealt with price, which has been discussed in this thread and the fact that it's a little overpriced for what it is which translates into the lower attendance figures.

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Here is the article regarding the lawsuit from PAlive365.com

 

Conneaut Lake Park sued by former Rides Manager

Posted by Andy Alm on Apr 27, 2012 in Andy Alm, Business, Editors, Headline, Meadville, News, News by City

 

Conneaut Lake Park is being sued by a former rides manager. Greg Swank on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas demanding that Jack Moyers, president of the park’s board of trustees, return roughly 5-thousand dollars worth of food service equipment that had been on loan to him in the fall of 2011. Moyers is given 20 days to return the property or else face possible legal action.

 

According to court documents, Swank had delivered some food stands and other equipment to Moyers in mid-September with the understanding that it would be returned by October 31st. Emails included in the court paperwork indicate that repeated requests by Swank to collect the equipment either went ignored or were put off by Moyers, who claimed he was busy with work or other obligations, until in February of 2012, Moyers asked Swank to pay some bills. An email from Moyers to Swank provided a breakdown of a total of almost 12-thousand dollars in cable, electric, and other bills. Moyers said Swank owes the money for his time working for the park.

 

But Swank told Forever Broadcasting those claims are, “…all out of thin air. There’s no agreement that I have to pay that stuff.” Swank went on to say Moyers wrote him a letter prohibiting him from coming onto the property, “…because he didn’t want me to get my stuff.”

 

Swank said, during his time as Rides Manager, he contributed thousands of dollars in services to the park, including replacing several hundred feet of track on the Blue Streak roller coaster.

 

“I’ve already paid through the nose to fix all that stuff, and fix the roller coaster. We probably put ten thousand dollars into the Music Express,” Swank said.

 

Swank, a Pittsburgh-area lawyer with experience in the amusement industry, was hired last year to manage the park’s rides. He resigned from that post last year, because he was not making a profit.

 

“I’m not gonna dump any more money into this losing venture,” Swank said. “All they want is to take, take, take, take, take, and give nothing in return.”

 

A call placed by Andy Alm, of Forever Broadcasting, to the cell phone of Jack Moyers, asking for comment on the pending litigation between Moyers and Swank, was not immediately returned.

 

Swank is not the only one who’s been criticizing Moyers and the park board for alleged financial indescretions. Although he hasn’t, to our knowledge, pursued legal action at this point, another Greg spoke out against the board’s actions when questioned recently. Greg Sutterlin heads up Park Restoration, LLC, which runs the Beach Club and Hotel Conneaut, under a lease arrangement with the park. Just days before learning of legal action from Swank, we called Sutterlin to inquire about the financial situation at the park.

 

Speaking about Moyers and the Park Board, Sutterlin said, “We’d like to see them all resign.”

 

He said, “During the last three years of Park operation, crowds have continued to drop.”

 

He was especially critical of alleged promises made by Moyers that all money charged at the front gates would go toward fixing potholes in the roads.

 

“They promised the public that they’re going to fix the roads. Where has that money gone?” Sutterlin said. He said potholes pose a serious hazard for drivers and motorcyclists, and are a potential liability.

 

Sutterlin went on to say the park’s investment in the ride area, with the exception of the Blue Streak, was “very limited at best,” in spite of “top dollar” being charged at the gate.

 

He was critical of the Board’s choice of carnival vendors, saying they have a “fundamental business plan that is not consistent with the operation of Conneaut Lake Park. They are accustomed to getting top dollar for their ride, games and food. As we have learned, that will not work in Conneaut Lake Park.”

 

“A $20 bill will almost get a guest into our competition just north, and to top it off, in 2010, the water park was closed,” Sutterlin said.

 

Sutterlin said his group recently bid on a proposal to take over some of the ride responsibilities. The bid was rejected and awarded to another company. The position Sutterlin had been been hoping to land is the same position held by Greg Swank in 2011.

 

Sutterland said repeated requests for the board’s president, Jack Moyers, to disclose records of revenues and expenditures have been denied. He said he is suspicious of whether memberd of the board of trustees are making salaries, an allegation Moyers has denied.

 

“Officially, they don’t have to (release financial records), but they should bring it right out so it doesn’t appear they are hiding something,” Sutterlin said. He said Moyers, several weeks ago, handed him a water bill of over 50-thousand dollars, dating back six years. He said he had never been billed for water before and that was not part of his agreement with Moyers.

 

The park has a history of financial trouble. It owes a total of $823,281.75 in back taxes, penalties and interest dating to 1997.

 

Moyers refused to be recorded for our radio stations, but he did tell us he has the right to keep business transactions carried out by the park private. He says the court-appointed board can hire whomever they want.

 

“If Greg (Sutterlin) has a problem, he should take it up with me,” Moyers said. He said he doesn’t feel Sutterlin should have spoken to the media about the issue.

 

In 2007, the park was given over to a “public trust,” headed by a board that was appointed by Crawford County President Judge Anthony Vardaro. Several board members have come and gone since that time. Moyers denied that anyone on the board was being paid.

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I hope they can hold on and stay open through the end of July. Doesn't look like this park will remain open much longer.

 

I agree as long as we get there on LeviaThon I'll be happy, but sadly I'm not holding my breath!

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I hope they can hold on and stay open through the end of July. Doesn't look like this park will remain open much longer.

 

I agree as long as we get there on LeviaThon I'll be happy, but sadly I'm not holding my breath!

 

I feel confident that it is safe for this year but not as confident about it after that.

 

Im surprised it took this long for the parks problems to make the media...

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Is it just me or do we have an ethical issue in regard to Blue Streak?

Swank admits that the ride remained a public health hazard throughout the 2011 season and yet he still let it operate. I don't care about what desperate financial situation you are it, but a "Rides Manager" should never let a ride operate that he/she believes it potentially dangerous.

 

It is sad to see such a historical gem being desperately kept on life support, but sometimes we need to let go. An amusement park can't continue to cling onto it's historical roots in hope of renewal when that philosophy simply isn't working. We all respect CLP's place in history, but we also need to respect that it is time to let go. People (general public) are just not interested in CLP anymore, and the numbers show it. Attendance has plummeted since 2009 when the park re-opened, and re-opening of the Blue Streak (late 2010) and "new" rides (2011) couldn't do it despite being well publicized in the region.

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