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Conneaut Lake Park (CLP) Discussion Thread


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I keep thinking the end has come for this park and then being proved wrong, but this time it really seems like there's no way out unless there's another entity willing to come in at the 11th hour and pay off these debts. Very unlikely, but you never know.

 

What are the potential options from the sheriff's sale? Could someone make a bid on the entire park, or is it purely going to be piecemeal?

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I'm surprised there isn't more discussion around this, but I think there is such fatigue in the coaster community about the future of this property. I love a good ride on Devil's Den and Blue Streak just as much as the rest of us and really do hope there is a light amidst this dark time for Conneaut Lake. At this point, beyond the sheriff’s sale and revitalization fund, I hope there is a way to repair the park's reputation. I don't think anyone wants Conneaut Lake to see the light of another season simply to operate as a ghost town.

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i live not even 15 minutes away, and sadly it hurts seeing whats going on..and its not the park fault,its the old trustees,but now that they have been ousted ,all the boards voting for sheriff sale sucks, the new board has great intentions...hoping something works out,i dont wanna see my hometown park ,torn down,,,whats funny is u see waldameer thrive and expand,yet see conneaut lake fall apart

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I was out at the park today... boy was it dead.

 

Blue Streak 8/10 - Really surprising old woodie! It was a lot bigger than I expected it to be, and it had good airtime. Loved the NAD train they were using. It reminded me a lot of the train used on Big Dipper at Camden Park.

 

Wasn't able to ride the Little Dipper . Ticket sales lady was pretty adamant about it. Whatever... you'd think for a park drowning in debt that they'd be willing to take my money.

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I took a what seems to be final visit last Monday, and I gave attendance a small pass since it was on and off rain.

 

But overall, the park is in very rough shape. The new "Attraction," Hostile Hostel, seems to be abandoned or not being used until Ghost Lake. Several lap bars and other parts of ride vehicles use pool noodles as padding. I was even secured with a car seat belt on Witch's Stew. There were two functioning bumper cars, but one of them had a mostly deflated bumper with a smashed front end. I was left covered in paint chips after riding Trabant. The condition of restrooms was enough to make someone vomit upon sight and smell. It's tough to see how this park manages to simply meet payroll, utilities, and general upkeep costs based on the condition it's in. Blue Streak is still incredibly fun and unique when riding in a non-wheel seat, so that will the the only thing missed assuming 2014 is CLP's swan song.

 

You wouldn't know that the park recently underwent an upgrade with the filming of Mission Amusement.

 

As a side note:

I was out at the park today... boy was it dead.

In comparison, 40 minutes up the road Waldameer Park was in overflow parking today despite the rain in the forecast. It is clearly telling of where people are choosing to go for a traditional family park in the Northwest Pennsylvania Region. With an obvious lack of interest from the general public, it makes it very hard to justify the attempts and protests some people are making to save this place. Sadly, tradition and nostalgia are not enough to save this once gem of a small park.

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As a side note:

I was out at the park today... boy was it dead.

In comparison, 40 minutes up the road Waldameer Park was in overflow parking today despite the rain in the forecast. It is clearly telling of where people are choosing to go for a traditional family park in the Northwest Pennsylvania Region. With an obvious lack of interest from the general public, it makes it very hard to justify the attempts and protests some people are making to save this place. Sadly, tradition and nostalgia are not enough to save this once gem of a small park.

 

Oh I know! I only stayed at Conneaut for about an hour before heading up to Waldameer. The difference was startling! Packed parking lots. Crowds at ALL the rides. Even a 40min wait for Ravine Flyer II in light rain, which on a side note is BRILLIANT!

 

Back to Conneaut though... I was hoping to get a ride on the Tumble Bug while I was there... closed. I snapped a couple pics after riding the major rides and left. It was really depressing for what I expected to be a busy Saturday at Conneaut.

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Couldn't Devil's Den also find a home at Knoebels? Although maybe it wouldn't seem worth it next to the two larger dark rides they already have.

 

I think that it would be a tough move, because the building couldn't be moved and a new one would have to be built using the same specs. Besides, what park would want that nasty gum wall? I wouldn't even want to touch it. Hopefully what's left of the park finds a good home. I would hate to see those older rides just scrapped. However, Blue Streak may be too hard to move in the end.

 

Edit: I am not a tax expert, and anyone can correct me if I'm wrong, but is the park actually done now? Even though there are many people protesting, how many of those people actually visit the park on a normal basis? Attendance and upkeep really show how bad things are.

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As far as the park being "done"... I did see at least two public fundraiser events to try to raise money for the park before the sheriff's sale. One looked like a bowling/pizza night, and there were a few flea market slash yard sale type flyers as well. The locals themselves don't seem to be happy about the park closing, but if yesterday was a litmus test... I'd say the park is in trouble.

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Went to the park for the first time yesterday. I actually liked it, and it wasn't in nearly as bad shape as I'd heard. The worst looking areas were the spots where rides had been partially removed, and a few random buildings that were closed up. The front gate area is also kind of weird and abandoned. But the operating rides were all in at least OK condition, and it was clear there was some new landscaping and paint. Sure, it's still a run-down park, just not as bad as I've seen described on here.

 

Blue Streak was a fun ride, it would be a shame if this coaster is lost. The train has seen better days, but the track itself was in good condition. Devil's Den was super unique as well - almost like an indoor kiddie wooden wild mouse.

 

There was a decent sized crowd at the park, and some sort of biker/concert thing. Lots of families having fun.

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But overall, the park is in very rough shape. The new "Attraction," Hostile Hostel, seems to be abandoned or not being used until Ghost Lake. Several lap bars and other parts of ride vehicles use pool noodles as padding. I was even secured with a car seat belt on Witch's Stew. There were two functioning bumper cars, but one of them had a mostly deflated bumper with a smashed front end. I was left covered in paint chips after riding Trabant. The condition of restrooms was enough to make someone vomit upon sight and smell. It's tough to see how this park manages to simply meet payroll, utilities, and general upkeep costs based on the condition it's in. Blue Streak is still incredibly fun and unique when riding in a non-wheel seat, so that will the the only thing missed assuming 2014 is CLP's swan song.

 

You wouldn't know that the park recently underwent an upgrade with the filming of Mission Amusement.

 

Okay, I can't just let this post go without defending the park a bit. I was just on Saturday for an event, and Mr. Adams addressed our group about some of these issues.

 

First of all, Hostile Hostel wasn't really a brand new attraction built by Mission Amusement. There was already an existing haunt there for Ghost Lake. The show simply went in and added/changed/improved some stuff. However, having gone through it both before and after the "upgrade", I would say it's mostly the same. Mission Amusement wrongly takes credit for building a full new attraction. The reason it normally isn't open is due to the number of staff needed to properly staff the haunt. They would actually lose money by having it open.

 

Secondly, oh no.. a car seat belt on a ride... the horror! It still functions as a seat belt, right?

 

Third, not that long ago there were actually 8 functioning bumper cars. That number has decreased in part due to scrappers coming into the park at night and literally stealing the motors out of the cars. Mr. Adams said the problem has only increased since the announcement of the possible sheriff's sale. They have caught people trying to take many things, even carousel horses. They really are fighting an uphill battle, and people burning down buildings and stealing parts from the rides doesn't help at all. Some of these parts are very expensive to replace and others are hard or impossible to find (requiring them to be machined from scratch).

 

Regarding the Tumble Bug, the word is that Knoebels doesn't want it because it's too loud for their park. Otherwise, I agree it would probably be the perfect home for it. If only my home park Kennywood ran Turtle that fast... Tumble Bug isn't open currently due to their last spare motor blowing. They have to send it out to be rebuilt from scratch, and that of course costs a decent chunk on money as well.

 

Music Express was originally going to be fixed by Adams, but the ride's owner stated he wants his ride back after hearing about the potential sale, so they are not going to sink money into a ride only to potentially lose it at the end of the season.

 

Regarding the sheriff's sale, Mr. Adams stated it's not over yet and they are working with the new trustees on some ideas. I believe the September sale has been postponed to October due to nobody filing (I'm no tax expert either, so I can't really go into any more detail than that). Lenny said he won't be leaving until a sheriff shows up with handcuffs.

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Tumble Bug isn't open currently due to their last spare motor blowing. They have to send it out to be rebuilt from scratch, and that of course costs a decent chunk on money as well.

 

Tumble Bug was open yesterday, so they must have replaced the motor.

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^ They had gotten it running somehow for us Saturday night for an ERT, but I had heard they weren't going to run it except for special occasions due to the risk of ruining the motor beyond repair. I guess they're taking their chances for the benefit of the guests.

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On our way back from Cedar Point over the weekend we decided to stop at Waldameer and Conneaut Lake for the first time. While our experience at Waldameer was great I think Conneaut Lake somehow failed to meet our unimaginably low expectations. This park needs to be put out of it's misery.

 

Even though it was a holiday weekend the place was dead, there were probably about 15-20 cars in the parking lot and it was creepy walking up to the old ticket booths and seeing the tilt a whirl start moving as there was nobody in sight. Finally we saw one guy walking his dog who just looked at us confused and didn't say anything... it was like they were shocked that anyone was actually walking in to the park.

 

The ticket booths looked like they used to be nice once as well as the old fountain (I guess) in front of it which is now just a mosquito breeding ground with green water and a few water snakes in it. We walked up to the booth but realized they weren't used any more as they were full of Christmas decorations.

 

We walked through them and saw a few empty ride pads and a few rides that were empty but I think they just had a roaming operator who was working the Tilt a Whirl at the time. The rides all looked like they were ready to collapse at any minute.

 

When we made the turn by the fence that said "tickets" on it with an arrow next to the crumbling buildings we arrived at what I guess was a midway once. The miniature golf course looks like the best thing in the park but nobody was playing it. On the left is an abandoned waterpark and way down the midway was a ticket booth that looked open so we walked up to it. There were only like 4 people in sight and they looked like they were just wandering aimlessly... I'm not sure if they were guests or employees.

 

The wristbands were buy 1 get 1 for $20 total so we each got them figuring we wouldn't get our money's worth but the park could use the money so it was okay. We were happy to see that Blue Streak was open so against our best judgement we hopped on the front seat.

 

The ride operator's safety spiel went something like this (no I'm not kidding) "Welcome to Blue Streak keep your hands and arms in ahhhhhhh...." and then he sent the train.

 

The ride was predictably terrible and rough which was sad because you could tell that it was probably great once. The tunnel at the beginning was cool and it had an interesting layout but it looked like it could collapse at any time with how warped it was. I always laugh at people that say this about coasters but with this one I think those concerns are justified. I'm amazed it hasn't killed anybody yet. Going over one of the hills I got hit in the face with something from the ride, I'm not sure what it is... it could have been something unimportant but I just tried not to think about it for the rest of the ride. The train just sort of crashed along the course and it was a real relief when we finally hit the brakes.

 

Then it was off to the Devils Den which was better than I thought it would be. It didn't do much but it was almost traveling carnival quality which is more than I could say for the rest of the park. I appreciated it's uniqueness.

 

After that we walked around a little and checked out some more abandoned rides. I heard they had something called the Hotel Hostile that was supposed to be good but we saw no sign of this ride. They had part of an old kiddy ferris wheel and an abandoned Toboggan coaster lying around which for some reason had Christmas lights on it (though they weren't lit).

 

They had a few games where you could win some "Git R Done" merchandise and a few other things with confederate flags on them. They had a row of a ton of run down looking games with one poor kid in charge of running all of them. I don't say that because he was busy because he wasn't since there was nobody there... it just made you feel bad for the place.

 

Next we went into the gift shop which was incredibly confusing. They didn't have much Conneaut Lake stuff in there but they had some cool Geauga Lake merchandise and more confederate flag stuff (lol). They did have a Conneaut Lake keychain which we bought.

 

On the way out we saw the Tumble bug operating so we took a ride, it's definitely the best ride in the park though it looks like it's ready to fall apart. We looked at the flyers too but my girlfriend refused to ride because she didn't think we should "push our luck since we managed to survive 3 rides so far". Given her ability to snap flyers it was probably a good idea... we had had enough anyway.

 

I feel like this park may have been great once but in it's current state it's just a sad place. It needs to be put out of it's misery.

 

Just a few pictures...

 

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Seems Legit...

 

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Blue Streak Station. 1/2 of the people that were in the park are probably in this picture. I'm not joking.

 

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Anyone want a Slap Chop? It's for sale at the Conneaut Lake store! (My girlfriend hates the way this picture came out but it had to be shown lol)

 

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Sorry, I had to.

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Regarding the Tumble Bug, the word is that Knoebels doesn't want it because it's too loud for their park. Otherwise, I agree it would probably be the perfect home for it.

 

I actually sent Knoebels an email asking if there was any way they could save the Tumble Bug and Devil's Den. I never got a response, not that I was expecting one particularly, but I figured the more they hear about it, the better. But I must say, what you say here doesn't sound like Knoebels at all. I mean it's true they have the campground and a couple residential homes actually sitting on the property, but still, they have two traditionally tracked wooden coasters, which are already arguably the loudest amusement park rides in existence, plus not one, not two, but THREE rides with vehicles that each have their own noisy gasoline-fueled motors (boats, bumper boats, antique cars), not to mention the flyers which also run on a gas motor, and the Satellite ride isn't what you'd call "quiet", plus the unbelievably loud lift hill for Black Diamond... let's just say I've never gotten the impression Knoebels is too concerned with how loud their rides are. How loud could one little Tumble Bug possibly be?

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