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Conneaut Lake Park (CLP) Discussion Thread


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More thrills on the first drop of Blue Streak than most "big box" corporate parks have combined. I hope something comes through. Look at places like Seabreeze, they had horrible times years ago, and now shine brightly.

 

If Magic Mountain is removing shoulder bars from a coaster after 23 years, anything can happen

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A general update:

 

CLP reported in Bankruptcy Court that the operating loss for the month of September was $134,330. This brings the net profit for 2015 to -$590,263. This comes after CLP projected that the month of September would profit $36,500. Ouch.

 

A group of us made it out to Ghost Lake despite not-so-good experiences in the past which was nice to get a last ride on Blue Streak. It will be missed with it's spooky tunnel beginning and impressive airtime hills. While many recent years were supposed to be the "last," 2015 has the added layer of Bankruptcy Court which was not a factor in recent years. If you want a ride on Blue Streak, I would say that forking over the cash for a mediocre haunt might be worth one last ride the ticket includes. The creditors, understandably so, seem to have no interest in keeping this money-hemorrhaging park going for another year.

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So sad. I am glad I made it to the park this past August. It was the best 10 bucks I ever spent. Rode Blue Streak 8 times, tumble bug 3 times, along with Gum Wall, the ride , the train and the weird Hansel and Grettel ride. Also had a couple of good brews from a local brewery that had a stand there too. The whole place was like a giant scary halloween haunt in August! The last time I was there was back in the 1970's as a kid and wow has it changed. Like everyone says, it doesn't sound to good for the park's future. Get there ASAP if you can. The Blue Streak is well worth the price of admission, a true classic.

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Hotel Conneaut operator thrown out over unpaid bills and facility is locked up.

 

 

 

 

CONNEAUT LAKE PARK — The Hotel Conneaut has been shut down and its operator ousted by the Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park because of more than $140,000 in outstanding bills owed to Trustees.

 

Locks were changed on the Hotel Conneaut at midafternoon today and Park Restoration Inc. was removed as the hotel's operator, Mark Turner, executive director of the Trustees, confirmed. Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park is the nonprofit corporation that oversees the amusement park's operations.

 

Park Restoration, which operated the hotel under a long-term lease with the Trustees, is in default for more than $140,000 on various agreements with the Trustees on Hotel Conneaut, the former Beach Club which burned on Aug. 1, 2013, two properties along Route 618 and overdue utility bills, Turner said.

 

At a Trustees board meeting in June, the Trustees voted 7-0 to not guarantee any future bookings for Hotel Conneaut between June and Oct. 1 unless the events were booked directly with the park at 382-5115 or newconneautlakepark.com and not through Hotel Conneaut.

 

On March 20, Trustees sent a letter to Park Restoration saying Park Restoration was in default on payments with the Trustees on various agreements and told Park Restoration to vacate the hotel premises by April 18.

 

Park Restoration didn't vacate Hotel Conneaut and disputed the company is in default under its lease agreements. Park Restoration has operated Hotel Conneaut since November 2008 under a 30-year lease with Trustees.

 

Full story can be found here....http://www.meadvilletribune.com/news/hotel-conneaut-operator-thrown-out-over-unpaid-bills-and-facility/article_9154f7e4-7ce8-11e5-85e6-53d75f2bdb47.html?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Breaking_News&utm_content=READ

 

Sounds like the end of the park and hotel.

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry to double post, but the bankruptcy hearing was last week and went better than expected for the park. After 3 and a half hours of debate between the two sides (and apparently a bus load of supporters) the judge sided with Mediation between the two sides to be completed within 60 days. He also granted the taxing authorities over 400K from the insurance settlement after the Beach Club fire a few years back.

 

For those of you who don't know what legal mediation is - it's exactly what it sounds like. They've been ordered to compromise. If they can't compromise, then it will likely go back to court for a final decision.

 

Thought this quote from the judge summed up his decision quite well:

 

"I am a little befuddled why the interests aren't aligned here." Deller said. He later said "I would assume Crawford County wouldn't want tumbleweeds going through Conneaut Lake Park"
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It was a very good hearing for the park and they deserve it. It is realistic for them to pay off the taxes at this point. The Camperland expansion should really help bring more money into the park as well.

 

Also, the park is hoping to gain permission to sell 3.3 acres of land not vital to the park including 330 feet of lake front. They apparently already have an offer of 280k for one parcel of that land.

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Why can't t his park just be put out of its misery already?

 

Where's Peter Cushing when you need him?

 

 

I visited the park a few years ago. I enjoyed Blue Streak, Devil's Den, and the Carousel (the organ actually works). The place was a mess, but they seemed to be making progress. I don't hold out much hope for the park now, but I wish them well (always better to be pleasantly surprised).

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Nothing is going to change no matter how much the owners petition and try to get around paying the taxes. Some businesses will succeed and some will fail, it's just how capitalism works. As sad as it is to see a park close, there's just really nothing going right for the park. They have a dying collection of unreliable rides, a single coaster, and attempts to save the park and revive it have been given up on.

 

It really doesn't help that the park is in PA either with the huge collection of great parks that they already have. I think it's just time for them to shut the doors, and try to get back any money they can from selling off the rides. Blue Streak, the Tumble Bug, and Devil's Den would be the only big losses if nobody would bid on them, but at this point it is what it is.

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^I'd like to see someone bid on the tumble bug (Knoebels?). As far as I'm concerned Blue Streak is awful so I don't care what happens to it (someone should restore the trains though and put them to use). Devils Den is sort of cool but there's no way that's getting relocated.

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I feel the same way about Blue Streak and Devil's Den, but when the park ultimately closes, we all know that those crazy "Save the Coaster" campaigns will start. Blue Streak isn't that great anyways and it isn't maintained as well as some of the other coasters that old.

 

I could totally see Knoebels trying to buy the Bug because of its proximity and its history. It would be perfect for them and give me another reason to visit.

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I think some opinions of Blue Streak not being all that great would change if the ride was in much better condition but for a wood coaster it's age, it's "OH CRAP!" moments of air time, especially in the back seat, beat out a lot of other wood and steel coasters that have been built today combined.

 

It's definitely a gem worth saving.

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Trying to keep this complicated situation into the abridged version, here are some important points regarding the financial state of Conneaut Lake Park.

 

Through the month of October 2015, Conneaut Lake Park's 2015 net income is -$599,137. It is important to point out that "busy" months of July, August, September, and October were all operating in the red despite wristband discounts and events such as Pumpkin Fest and Ghost Lake. Remember, the Pumpkin Fest and Ghost Lake are leased events that pay a flat fee to use the property, so only a predetermined small fraction of the income from all of the attendees is paid to Conneaut Lake Park.

 

The proposed sale of "Non-vital" or "Non-core" property includes revenue generating parcels such as Hotel Conneaut and the former site of the Beach Club. Due to the properties being placed under a public charitable trust by a previous park owner, Gary Harris, any sale of property requires court approval to remove land use restrictions. Another added layer of complication to the proposed property sales is tax liens on those parcels which have yet to be settled. This is not your average put a For Sale sign up and may the best offer win scenario for generating some fast income.

 

Looking forward into 2016 under the assumption it happens, there are a few more things to consider. In 2015 the park needed $300,000 in loans to open. Based on the financial and physical state of the park currently, I can't imagine Conneaut Lake Park not needing yet another large loan to tack onto their debt to open in 2016. Funding needed to open the existing attractions does not even cover the possibility of new additions or improvements to increase attendance and revenue. Blue Streak, while not an awful ride, is gradually becoming more aggressive and will need more costly maintenance is just one example.

 

While a preliminary ruling has granted the Taxing Authorities most of the Beach Club fire insurance payout, the holder of the policy, Greg Sutterlin intends to appeal the ruling and continue to hold that money in limbo as the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy process continues. Speaking of the Chapter 11 process, the Judge ordered both parties to mediation, not compromise. In mediation, a third party mediator will attempt to facilitate an agreement between both parties, but mediation is non-binding and either side can refrain from compromising with no penalty.

 

Personally, I do see a large portion of the Beach Club fire insurance payout going towards back taxes which is good for Conneaut Lake Park, but the payout only covers only a portion of the back taxes. The remaining tax debt continues to grow at an interest rate of 9% compounded monthly. With the park continuing to operate at a several hundred thousand dollar loss with barely 25,000 attendees in 2015, I personally do not see a sustainable outlook for 2016 and beyond.

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Trying to keep this complicated situation into the abridged version, here are some important points regarding the financial state of Conneaut Lake Park.

 

Through the month of October 2015, Conneaut Lake Park's 2015 net income is -$599,137. It is important to point out that "busy" months of July, August, September, and October were all operating in the red despite wristband discounts and events such as Pumpkin Fest and Ghost Lake. Remember, the Pumpkin Fest and Ghost Lake are leased events that pay a flat fee to use the property, so only a predetermined small fraction of the income from all of the attendees is paid to Conneaut Lake Park.

 

What you're describing isn't "net income". The book balance is -$599,137, but without knowing what their income is versus their expenses and what those expenses are, it is difficult to have an honest assessment of their viability.

 

Personally, I do see a large portion of the Beach Club fire insurance payout going towards back taxes which is good for Conneaut Lake Park, but the payout only covers only a portion of the back taxes. The remaining tax debt continues to grow at an interest rate of 9% compounded monthly. With the park continuing to operate at a several hundred thousand dollar loss with barely 25,000 attendees in 2015, I personally do not see a sustainable outlook for 2016 and beyond.

 

Ultimately what this comes down to is this question: will the local government offer some sort of break to help with the amusement park's debt? If not, then the park will close. If so, then the park has a chance. As Judge Deller suggests, an abandoned and liquidated Conneaut Lake may not do any better of a job of recouping that tax money than an operational Conneaut Lake would.

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This number I am using is from the Statement of Operations (a.k.a. Income Statement) provided from Conneaut Lake Park to Bankruptcy Court. -$599,137 is CLP's income minus expenses. The period this accounts for is from January 1, 2015 through October 31, 2015. The bottom line is that no matter what their income or expenses are, there is $599,137 more expenses incurred than revenue earned for the year 2015.

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This number I am using is from the Statement of Operations (a.k.a. Income Statement) provided from Conneaut Lake Park to Bankruptcy Court. -$599,137 is CLP's income minus expenses. The period this accounts for is from January 1, 2015 through October 31, 2015. The bottom line is that no matter what their income or expenses are, there is $599,137 more expenses incurred than revenue earned for the year 2015.

 

It definitely does matter what the expenses are, as they may very possibly have nothing to do with day-to-day operation and may chiefly be compounded penalties on various unpaid bills dating back several owners and have occurred 15-20 years ago. If those are waived/forgiven, reduced, etc. that entirely changes the equation.

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I think some opinions of Blue Streak not being all that great would change if the ride was in much better condition but for a wood coaster it's age, it's "OH CRAP!" moments of air time, especially in the back seat, beat out a lot of other wood and steel coasters that have been built today combined.

 

It's definitely a gem worth saving.

I totally agree-Blue Streak is one of the few rides where I prefer the back seat over the front.And when I went a few years ago the "oh crap" moments where due partially because the ride itself looked like it could fall apart as it ran it's course;I can only imagine how well it could run if rehabbed properly.....

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This number I am using is from the Statement of Operations (a.k.a. Income Statement) provided from Conneaut Lake Park to Bankruptcy Court. -$599,137 is CLP's income minus expenses. The period this accounts for is from January 1, 2015 through October 31, 2015. The bottom line is that no matter what their income or expenses are, there is $599,137 more expenses incurred than revenue earned for the year 2015.

The park spent a TON of money on upgrades throughout the park and operational changes to move towards profitability, so a lot of that loss is probably not a standard annual operating expense. They were playing catch up.

 

It seems very realistic now that they can pay off their overdue taxes even within 1 year, they just paid half, and could possibly pay the other half with the sale of the 3.3 acres. They already have an offer of 280,000 for one parcel of land. If the demand is high enough and they do double the size of Camperland as they plan to, they could be bringing in an additional 60,000 yearly from that as well.

 

They are doing what they can to be profitable as soon as possible but honestly the amusement park model just does not work in their kind of setting like it did 50 years ago. Hopefully as soon as they pay off the taxes they can aggressively look for state funded support or pursue property tax exemption for all the land that is free public use (the free act lawn, beach, etc.)

 

Really hoping the park gets some lucky breaks where they deserve it.

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