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Conneaut Lake Park (CLP) Discussion Thread

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Hey everyone!


So, myself and three of my friends from Penn State, along with a massive amount of volunteers came out to Conneaut Lake Park this week as part of an "emergency" improvement project that sought to refresh the ailing park. A media crew was there as well to cover the project - but that's all I have to say about that.


The project culminated to an event on Saturday night on August 3rd - effectively called "Park After Dark" - that formally revealed all the improvements that were made, as well as a brand new attraction.


I'm so thankful for the opportunity to work on this project. Check out my report from Saturday!



This nice new sign (along with several others like it) was installed earlier. It used to be the nicest-looking sign in the park, more on that later.


All of the blue benches around the park were relocated to the midway for a consistent and clean look. Wonderful new planters (and repainted old ones) make the midway look great. All new light globes and bulbs, too.


Kiddieland remains untouched. It's in great shape already.


The Devil's Den has received a facelift inside and out. Brand new paint and stucco give the building a cavernous look, and there are some great new effects inside.


The gum wall remains - but a lot of the old gum has been painted over with new flames and the Devil himself staring down potential riders.


The Blue Streak station has seen some repainting as well - all of the fencing is now white. It looks so much more consistent now.


But, new for Blue Streak is this wonderful new sign on the station roof!


As part of the improvement project, the seating on Blue Streak's NAD train was re-upholstered. I had a wonderful opportunity (along with some of my buddies) to assist the maintenance guy in re-assembling the train with the new seating.


The Tumble Bug remains untouched.


Gone is the "rainbow explosion" of the midway games - the walls now alternate red and blue the whole way.


The rides at the front of the park continue to operate, save for the Tilt-a-Whirl.


The front entrance has a fresh coat of paint. That took a whole lot of work.


Unfortunately, it wasn't in the cards this time to paint the front sign. If everything goes well, I'd expect to see it repainted next season.


Blue Streak, which has had the bottoms of its second and third hills re-tracked, is running well, albeit bumpy. After my inaugural front seat ride, I found myself preferring the back car, second row. Hands up going over the first hills is absolutely terrifying and thrilling.


The big news, however, is this new attraction in the old arcade building.


These four people were here to introduce it. Can you guess who they are?


This is Lenny. He's pretty much the park's ring man. He personally welcomed the crowd to the park, and introduced the new attraction.


It's called the Haunted "Hostile", but I like to call it the "Hostile Hostel". It's a one-way haunted walkthrough (read: NOT a maze) with scare actors, crazy gags, disgusting scenes and disorientating walkways.


The Hostile Hostel was incredibly well-received by young and old alike. Everyone who emerged from the house came out laughing, terrified, or a combination of both.


The new changes to the Devil's Den were also well-received.


I want this park to succeed. This is a great old park with an old-time local atmosphere, and a passionate owner behind the wheel. Here's hoping that we see Blue Streak turn 80.

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Thanks for sharing!


Good news to see the park getting spruced up with paint and new signage. The new haunt makes sense because of the success they have had in years past with Ghost Lake. Plus, it's not actually a ride so they didn't have to invest tons of money to add something new.


Hope that they get the Tilt-A-Whirl going as that is one of my all time favorite flat rides. Any news about that water slide tower complex? It looked like it was almost to the point of deterioration last year so not sure if could even be salvageable at this point?

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Another successful day for the park! Crowds were great and the amount of people kept the park open an extra hour to keep the party going. There was still a line at the ticket booth as late as 9pm! I would say that if the crowds keep coming then the park has definitely turned the corner towards prosperity. Also the unofficial word about the beach club is that it was completely insured, will be rebuilt asap and all scheduled events will be held as planned in either the hotel or concert venue.


As for the state inspection fiasco, the discrepancies are most assuredly on the state's side. The PA ride inspectors are at the park regularly as recently as the past few days to approve the new attraction. To my knowledge there has been no complaints from the inspector about the condition of any of the rides. Mr. Adams does not neglect his duties as the park inspector in any way and as I have seen personally if anything on a ride is questionable safety or operationally then it is shut down until it can be addressed properly. A good example would be the tilt n hurl, there is just not enough hours in the day to make sure it is assembled and operating properly and to keep up on the maintenance for the other rides. I would chalk this issue up to the "investigative reporters" trying to create some headlines and nothing more.


I forgot to get any pics but another improvement courtesy of the Travel Channel is all the Blue Streak seats were reupholstered! Also parts for the train should arrive soon and it will be operating asap.


As far as the waterpark I haven't heard any news, I do know that it is in need of major work including new pumps, gel coating on the slides and new structural bolts for the tower. It is likely that new construction would be cheaper than renovations.


Waiting for the reveal of The Hostile Hostel

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Wow! the park looks 100% better than it did during my visit in early June (especially the old ticket booths out front). I like that they've opened a haunted walk-through, as well.

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This was a great opportunity for the park to show the locals that they are working hard to bring the place back. Abd I think they impressed people. I hope the crowds pick up a bit for the remainder of the season so they can have some extra funds to spruce things up even more in the offseason. The place looks significantly nicer than when I went, especially because an empty midway will never look nice, no matter how new the paint is.


As an aside, how long is the haunted walk through and do you think it'll be open with actors during all operating hours or just at night on weekends or something? It looks like a solid, unique addition that could spark some talk among people.

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This is exciting for sure. I grew up near here and we plan to head back to give them support next season. I wish I could have made it up there to help this past week. A special thank you to everybody who gave their time and resources to help out!

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I was looking at aerial views of Conneaut Lake on Bing Maps and noticed there is an island in the woods behind Kiddieland I guess was used for the Jungle Cruise ride back in the day. Is there anything left out there?


Is there a time frame for when the Toboggan will be removed? That is a big eyesore on the lawn. Also what is the status of the Round Up since the central hub is all that's sitting there?

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Nothing is left of the jungle cruise ride that I am aware of. I can't remember the specifics of the toboggan fiasco but there is some legal issues regarding ownership of the ride that prevent its prompt removal. I have no idea when they will be able to remove it but its on the short term list. The round up parts are safely stored elsewhere in the park, it needs a few parts including hydraulic clutches that were lost in the ballroom fire and are several thousand a set used. I'm told that they are searching for a reasonably priced set and once obtained the round up will return.


Most of the parks deficiencies are caused by a lack of capital, investments are being made as finances will allow without causing the park to go into debt. All improvements are being paid for with cash not credit. Things are getting better and if the crowds keep coming we will see many defunct rides returning to include the round up and ultimate trip.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was at Waldameer and Conneaut yesterday! Here are my thoughts on Conneaut:


The park looked very decrepit and seemed depressing. It was sad to see the park in its current state. We only rode three rides at the park.


Blue Streak: I loved the way the ride started off. Great tunnel that was very long and pretty dark. The lift hill scared me slightly because it wasn't exactly straight. That first hill, though. WOW. There was insane ejector airtime on that hill, even though I was slammed into my seat at the very bottom of the hill. The next hill gave even more insane ejector air. After that, the ride just slowed down and dragged through the bunny hills. Overall, I did have fun with the ride, but it did hurt a bit. Glad to have ridden it.


Devil's Den: What a nice dark ride! It was nice to see the notorious gum wall. I did feel like I was going to get stuck at the very top of the lift hill, though. The ride was very tight and had very intense turns. The ride was creepy and did spook me a bit. I actually liked this more than Whacky Shack. I also have to give props to the ride operator, as he was moving around like crazy.


Bumper Cars: Interesting. While my dad was getting nailed by a 10 year old kid, I was just driving around in a circle, just looking for someone to blast. Didn't happen. Overall, it was fun, but I wish there would've been more people than just four.


Overall, I had a fun time at Conneaut. I suggest heading to it if you are going to Waldameer.

Edited by molemaster43
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The Rebuild the Beach Club concert is an unofficial non-Conneaut Lake Park-approved fund raising benefit. There are many questions locally as to where the money collected at the concert will go.There is no definitive answer from any concert parties. The question got murkier yesterday when Gregg Suttlin attempted to file an injunction in court ordering the insurance money on the Beach Club be paid to him. County and township attorneys showed there are many parties in front of Sutterlin who are legally entitled to and will receive the insurance money.The judge denied the request.

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I lol'd quite hard when I heard about the court decision, I also heard the guy was almost held in contempt of court after the court decided against him. Guy has no right to that money, it belongs to the park and a high 6 figure payout will handle that little back tax issue quite well.


On a better note Aug 24 was Community Day with a $5 wristband, It was a outstanding success and the public came out in droves, many people were heard saying how they had never seen the park this crowded even during the glory years! If this keeps up no one will ever think CLP is doomed again!




Line for the carousel, All rides ran at capacity all day










Even at the end of the night the Kiddie Coaster had a line


Enthusiasts in Training, Does anyone else think this is a great pic or what?


Tumble Bug making the last laps of the night filled to capacity.

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^ That is great to see the park that busy. I recently went to Conneaut a few weeks ago and liked it a lot. I was so happy we did the haunted house walk through. The workers in there did a great job and it was set up very well. I remember talking to a guy taking photos at the park and he knew a lot about the history of the park since he has been going there for the last 30+ years. He doesn't even ride the rides anymore, just goes to relive the past. Anyways, great to see the park is moving in the right direction.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was at the park on Monday and while I liked it, it was pretty depressing. The park was absolutely deserted while we were there. We saw maybe 10 other people at the park. The place has the feeling that it's on its last legs. It's a real shame because I liked the park and its old school charms.


Blue Streak was running surprisingly well and was pretty fun too. Devil's Den was old school fun, though the gum wall is pretty gross. Witch's Brew was crazy fun, and a little bit scary at the same time. We had a good deal of spinning which led us to hold on for dear life.


I really hope the park is able to get back on its feet again...

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  • 1 month later...

More Drama


AG Sues Conneaut Lake Park Trustees In Effort To Save Park


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The second devastating fire at Conneaut Lake Park — that destroyed the beach club in August — has become the last straw for the State Attorney General.


The park is run by a charitable trust and today, the Attorney General’s office sued the trustees in an effort to rescue the park.


There are a lot of memories in Conneaut Lake park for families throughout Western Pennsylvania.


And the Attorney General’s office says the current trustees are not taking the necessary steps to make sure it has a future.


The lawsuit says when the Dreamland Ballroom went up in flames in 2008, the trustees admitted they did not carry fire insurance on the ballroom or anything else on the property.


And Joe Peters from the AG’s office says when the beach club was destroyed by fire on Aug. 1 of this year, the trustees still had not purchased fire insurance.


“If they had just purchased fire insurance, they would have had a way to replace the asset,” Peters said. “But now you have an asset that’s gone and no way to replace it.”


In addition to not having insurance on the two buildings that burned, the state also claims the trustees failed to take advantage of other opportunities to raise money and promote the best interest of the park while at the same time actively web fundraising for the park’s preservation. So the court wants an accounting of the park’s money and suggest there could be financial irregularities.


Peters says the lawsuit filed in Meadville asks the court to consider “surcharging” the trustees for all lost monies and remove the trustees — as well as naming a new board.


KDKA’s efforts to reach Trustees Chair Jack Moyers and Secretary Carol West have been unsuccessful, but Lenny Adams who runs the park says the trustees have been doing the best they can considering the mountain of debt and back taxes they inherited.


On top of all that, the park is currently hosting Ghost Lake, 13 Levels of Fear for the Halloween season, featuring the Blue Streak roller coaster. Riders had to be escorted off the streak a week ago when it got stuck and over the weekend two women suffered facial injuries on the ride, one had to be hospitalized and both have now hired lawyers.


Adams says despite the incident, the Blue Streak is safe and will be in operation Halloween, Friday and Saturday for its last rides of the season.




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Recent incidents in the past couple weekends on Blue Streak featured on local news hasn't been helping Conneaut Lake Park either before this new legal battle.


24 trapped on Conneaut Lake coaster rescued

Erie Times-News


CONNEAUT LAKE -- Two dozen people had to be rescued from one of the peaks of Conneaut Lake Park's Blue Streak roller coaster Saturday night when the historic ride malfunctioned.


John Miller, fire chief for the Conneaut Lake Park Volunteer Fire Department, said 24 people were trapped on the ride when the coaster unexpectedly stopped at the top of the third peak shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday.


Miller said it took about four and a half hours to secure each of the riders to a rope system and lower them individually from the ride. No injuries were reported.


Miller said the ride seemed to stop because a bent piece of track jammed the roller coaster train at the third peak. The ride, which was open for Conneaut Lake Park's Ghost Lake 13 Levels of Fear, is celebrating its 75th anniversary.


Crews from Conneaut Lake and Summit Township also assisted in the rescue.


And a few days Later...

State investigating incident that injured 2 on Conneaut Lake Park's Blue Streak


By TIM HAHN, Erie Times-News



CONNEAUT LAKE -- The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is investigating an incident involving the Blue Streak roller coaster at Conneaut Lake Park that injured two people on Saturday night.


According to an official with the Summit Township Volunteer Fire Department, one person was taken to the Meadville Medical Center with injuries, possibly a fractured nose and jaw, on Saturday at about 11 p.m. Another person went by private vehicle to the hospital, the official said Sunday.


A person who contacted the Erie Times-News on Sunday said the two victims were women, and that one was transferred to UPMC Hamot with significant facial injuries.


The name of the victim could not be confirmed, but a woman by that name was listed in fair condition at UPMC Hamot on Monday.


A spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture, which enforces ride safety laws and oversees ride inspections through its Amusement Ride Safety Program, said an incident in which two people were injured at Conneaut Lake Park was reported to the agency on Monday. The spokeswoman also said the agency is investigating, but she had no other details.


The Blue Streak is operated by Adams Amusements, which leases all of the park's rides from the park's board of trustees.


Lenny Adams, of Adams Amusements, said he believes the riders had their heads lowered, shielding their faces from rain falling at the time.


The coaster might have been traveling faster than typical because of the rain, Adams said. When the coaster hit a bump in the track, their faces might have hit the lap bar, he said.


"We're not exactly sure what played into it," he said.


The ride was shut down after the incident but has since reopened after no structural problems were found, he said.


Adams said he is proud of the company's safety record and noted its maintenance and repair program.


"We do everything in our power to make sure our rides are safe," he said.


While the bulk of the park's rides closed at the end of summer, the Blue Streak has remained open as part of Ghost Lake at Conneaut Lake Park, a haunted attraction that opened in late September and runs through this weekend. The attraction features "13 levels of fear," and it concludes with a ride on the Blue Streak "Ghoster Coaster," according to the park's website.


Saturday's incident was the second involving the 75-year-old roller coaster since Ghost Lake opened. Firefighters were called to the park to rescue two dozen people from the roller coaster after it got stuck at the top of its third hill on the evening of Oct. 19.


The Blue Streak reopened at the 113-year-old Conneaut Lake Park in late 2010 after undergoing an extensive restoration that was funded in part by a $50,000 grant secured through the Pepsi Refresh Project.


The coaster had been closed since 2006.


Staff writers Erica Erwin and Sean McCracken contributed to this report


Of course most reasonable enthusiasts might think its somewhat blown up by the media, but the GP often times are not as keen to separate fact from embellishment especially when it comes to amusement rides. Not to forget to mention that ride safety has been a little more prominent in the news this season which only makes many people more worried.

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It never seems like any good news comes out of this park. Such a shame because its unique small park with some historic fun rides. I hope they deal with the charitable trust issue soon and hopefully don't get sued from the injured riders.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This was just posted to CLP's Facebook:


On Tuesday, the corporation known as Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park (TCLP) and any of the volunteer board members that have served since 2007 will be tasked with the process of defending its existence. We are saddened with the filing of the lawsuit by the Attorney General, especially given our repeated efforts to reach out to his office.


We have repeatedly chosen not to publicly participate in the mudslinging that has taken place. This should in no way be construed as admission of wrongdoing or the inability to deny allegations. Instead, we, unlike our opponents, firmly believe in taking a more professional approach to the disclosure of information related to the operations of the Conneaut Lake Park.


The Articles of Incorporation for TCLP state that the corporation is

incorporated “To preserve and maintain Conneaut Lake Park for historical and cultural and social and recreational and civic purposes, etc. for the benefit of the community and the general public.…” While not every decision that has been made has been supported by all, each was made with those purposes in mind. To allude that our actions did not strive to preserve and protect the historical asset of Conneaut Lake Park are unfounded and hurtful. This Board has dedicated its heart, mind, and spirit to the endeavors set forth in the purpose statement of this beloved Park. We believe that once the evidence is revealed, no reasonable person will believe otherwise.


Before this sitting board was even appointed, it was dealt a tough hand: a 10-year span of unpaid property taxes; a closed park; a mountain of debt; little money in the bank; no credit; a lengthy list of unpaid bills; and a water company that required mandatory upgrades. Undaunted by these challenges, we secured lessees to allow the park to open and operate.


Bill's Midway Marina, Adams Amusements, Mid America Events, and Park Restoration have invested and improved the Park and allowed the season to extend and provide a small percentage of the revenue needed to keep the park operating. While the park obtains some of its revenue from the performance of its lessees, the majority of its revenue is generated from the payment of minimum lease payments from its lessees. While much has been published about the failure of the park to pay its tax bill, a bill that was unpaid long before this board was appointed, this Board has, since it was appointed in 2007 paid against back debts related to sewer system debt, sales tax debt, and mortgage debt.


This Board has also worked hard to keep the Park vibrant and to improve its fortune. As examples, given the historical and operational significance of the Blue Streak to the Park, when the opportunity to secure grants specific to that asset were found, we pursued and secured them. Along with the strong supporters of the Park, we won two national contests that aided in the restoration and reopening of the Blue Streak and upgraded signage on the grounds. The marketing and public relations impact from those campaigns was a national sweep of positive support and awareness for the Park. We worked with Preservation PA to secure the eligibility of being on the National Register of Historic Places which further allowed us to compete for and win additional grant monies from the PHMC for continued restoration of the Blue Streak.


In short the Board anticipates being vindicated once the facts, the truth, are revealed.

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It's a real shame how much crap this park has gone through over the years, but it's great that they (somehow) keep coming back. With all of this, I'm really wondering how much longer Conneaut Lake will be operating. It would suck to lose this park and the awesome Blue Streak.

The park will most likely be operating 3 more months during the 2014 summer season prior to the September tax sale.

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