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Conneaut Lake Park (CLP) Discussion Thread


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I love CLP and I count Blue Streak as my #2 woodie.  The park may be cracked and falling apart in some respects, but I have a ton of FUN there which doesn't happen at big corporate parks.  And those waterslides, holy cow.  Nuts! 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tumble Bug is done after 95 years. It's too bad, but I'm just glad that it stayed around as long as it did for me to ride it.  They may have wanted to relocate it to make room for the water park given their Facebook post and that they were initially carefully removing its parts, but once they tried taking out the track - permanently attached to the cement - they probably realized why there were only 2 of these left out of the 100 built.

The funniest thing is that they're putting all five cars as decoration on the midway. It's like if a park took all 20 of their old log flume boats and scattered them around.

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Meadville Tribune - Memorial Day weekend traditionally has been Conneaut Lake Park's opening, but the new ownership is now targeting July 4 weekend instead with one of its nostalgic rides gone.

A bigger blow to summer nostalgia than the delayed start date, the Tumble Bug –– one of the park's iconic rides –– was deemed unable to be repaired, though its cars have been preserved.

Separate announcements about the opening delay and the demise of the Tumble Bug came over the weekend via social media posts at New Conneaut Lake Park, the amusement park's Facebook page.

"The park will NOT be open/ready by Memorial Day,” the Sunday night post read. “We are hoping to open 4th of July weekend.”

Saturday's post said the Tumble Bug, a 1920s-era low-level rollercoaster, isn't coming back.

"We wanted to make sure it met our expectations before we open up," owner Todd Joseph of Keldon Holdings LLC told the Tribune in an interview Monday.

Keldon purchased Conneaut Lake Park and its assets for $1.2 million in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court proceeding earlier this year.

"It's going to take a little while longer," Joseph said. "I only bought the park two months ago and the amount of work that's been done I think superseded even our expectations. It's a huge undertaking. I've got the right team in place and they're doing great work. They're the ones, if the park is successful moving forward, that should get the credit."

Joseph's plan to revitalize the historic amusement park is to make it into an events center, in which entities would lease the grounds for such gatherings as festivals and concerts.

Dilapidated buildings along the Midway have been cleared from Comstock Street southeast to the boardwalk area by the lake. Deteriorated pavement and trees in the area have been cleared along with the former large wooden stage that overlooked the lake. The large open area will be the site for festivals and concerts.

Construction of a planned Tiki hut-style bar has started on the beach at the park, too. 

"Given COVID and some of the transportation issues with rides, we decided to punt it (the opening) for a month," Joseph said.

Joseph confirmed he was working to added more rides at the amusement park as well as in its Kiddieland area, but declined to say how many or what they were.

"I'd rather just wait and let people come in. I think they'll be more excited that way," he said.

In a social media posting in April, the park said two of its iconic rides — the Tumble Bug and the Blue Streak rollercoaster — wouldn't be in operation this year due to necessary repairs.

The Tumble Bug "needs a lot of repairs to ensure its safety," the April 1 posting said. "This will take some time. We do intend to keep it and have it up and running next year.”

On Saturday, an update posted at New Conneaut Lake Park’s Facebook page said the Tumble Bug couldn't be repaired, but made no mention of the Blue Streak rollercoaster.

"As stated before the Tumble Bug needed many repairs and our hope was to have it fixed and ready for 2022," the post read in part. "The issues with the Tumble Bug were not able to be repaired and we were unable to save it. Please believe me when I say, we tried. It was not the outlook we wanted but it was beyond repair. Unfortunately nothing lasts forever."

But luckily its cars have been saved, according to the post.

"We did not want to scrap the cars, so we have placed them inside the park, where they belong, to cherish the memories. When we open, guests may sit in the them to take pictures."

Joseph said he got conflicting reports about the Tumble Bug's viability to continue.

"So it leaves me in the middle and we're not putting Band Aids on bullet wounds any more — is really what it comes down to," he said.

Joseph reiterated the Blue Streak won't operate this year, but will be examined this fall.

"After the summer, we'll take a look at it," he said of the wooden coaster. "We'll get some structural engineers in. It won't be operable this year. No final decision has been made."

A lot of other changes are happening on the park's grounds.

The former pony track, its building and fence have been taken out.

"It didn't meet what we're trying to do," Joseph said. "We'll be expanding Kiddieland into that area and adding family rides as well."

The plan is to the make the park and its amusement rides flexible.

"The idea is to have a park where we can pivot, move them around systematically," he said.

The exterior of the park's former convention hall is being stripped away so it can become an open-air picnic area with food and beverage stations and music, Joseph said.

The bumper car building will become an under-21 events center with a disc jockey, food and more.

There are some events already booked for July at Conneaut Lake Park including a concert July 3 and a car, truck and motorcycle show July 31.

"The events scheduled are a go," Joseph said. "Those events are definitely booked and we're working on a few other events this year." He's working to have events slated for each weekend in the 2022 season.

 

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It's sad they didn't try very hard to save the Tumble Bug.  So it seems we can almost thing the same will happen to Blue Streak.  The new owners are getting rid of the old stuff in not so good shape.  But if they take down Blue Streak, the park will never be the same.

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 if the park is successful moving forward

Well that doesn't exactly inspire a lot of hope ha.

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"The idea is to have a park where we can pivot, move them around systematically," he said.

What? 

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I grew up with Conneaut Lake and I am very apprehensive about what’s going on.  Based on the article, the only rides that will be there this year are the Carousel, Devils Den and some kiddie rides.  The Bug, Witch’s Stew, Trabant,  Music Express, Bumper Cars and Tilt A Whirl were all removed.  Blue Streak is questionable for the future.  So that leaves the train (which I doubt will remain as it always seemed to have problems and even derailed once when I was riding a few years back), the Paratrooper, Flying Scooters, and the Ferris Wheel as rides I didn’t hear about.  It sounds like they may add a used ride or two, which would be nice, but even still, this is going to be an interesting year.  I sincerely hope they survive, but as an amusement park, it doesn’t sound promising.  

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10 hours ago, coasterbill said:

They got rid of all of the dilapidated buildings? Wow, walking through a park with zero buildings is going to be weird.

Not even ...... bathrooms around?  :omg:

 

 

😋

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Structural engineers will be on site this Fall to assess the Blue Streak. I don't understand why not sooner.  The way things are going over there at CLP are very questionnable as to what they really want to do with their Blue Streak coaster.  They are taking down pretty much every old building or ride that requires repairs.  The Tilt A Whirl is being scrapped instead of being refurbished, just like the Tumble Bug ride.  Now everybody knows Blue Streak probably needs major structural repairs.  The conclusion of the assessment will probably be that it needs a lot of work and money put into it.  Looking at the way the new owner acts makes me believe they will just end up taking it down.  Might be just me but the park was bought at a good price and the owner just wants to run it as a simple amusement park and is not too worried  about the history of the park and its rides.

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  • 1 month later...

I posted the below to r/rollercoasters yesterday, figured I'd share here: 

Screamscape just posted an update about Conneaut Lake Park , and its not exactly good news. Highlights of the post include:

  • Ride cars from the park's now defunct Tumble Bug ride may have been posted on ebay for an auction price of $5,000
  • Older rides at the park (Music Express, Witch’s Stew and the park’s train ride ) may have been sold off, and 4 of the rides brought in to replace them, including an octopus ride, swings, a slide, and dizzy dragons may have been listed for sale online ( all four rides are still listed on the parks website though)
  • Conneaut apparently cancelled many concerts and events that were scheduled in July, claiming it was due to staffing issues, with some speculating a potential cash flow problem as another possible cause.
  • Unverified reports/rumors of park staff having issues meeting payroll on time, pairing with rumored reports of many employees quitting in large numbers.
  • Several announced improvements, including waterpark expansion/updates, the old bumper car building's arcade conversion, and evaluations/repairs to the Blue Streak have still not taken place.

Screamscape also speculates that since the new owner is private real estate developer instead of the local public government/nonprofit trust board who previously operated it, that a longer term vision of the owner may be to eventually develop the lakefront property the park lies on into condos.

(Side note, an article originally posted last month on a Cleveland newspaper's website also mentions that the new owner, Philadelphia real estate developer Todd Joseph, found the lakefront view of the park quite appealing when he purchased it. It doesn't seem like he's made a long term decision on the Blue Streak, mentioning it would cost upwards of six figures just to restore individual cars on the coaster's train too.)

With all of of that in mind, it might be worth it for someone to send copies of any remaining Blue Streak blueprints or information over to Knoebel's as a precaution.....

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He bought it to close it.  🤷‍♂️

I hadn't planned on going this year without the Blue Streak, but maybe I should.  There have been many times I have visited and thought it was "the last season" (1992, 2007, 2014), but this one may really be the depressing finale.  It's sad because the last few years actually looked like the park was making some progress.  Yes, it still looked like a war zone, but people were coming and seemingly enjoying themselves.  There were actually lines for some of the rides.  I thought maybe somehow, against all odds, Conneaut was digging itself out of a deep hole.  Now, it's looking more and more like condos will be the end game.  Hoping that I am wrong again, but this time feels different, and not in a good way.  

 

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you're going to be going at least this year without the Blue Streak, they never had any plans to open it this year.

Who knows, maybe it will be "fine" long term but it's not looking good

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Well we pretty much all saw it coming.  The owner is a real estate developer from the area and had not been to the park in like 25 years.  He bought that place for the land so he could develop it, build condos.  I really hope it stays as an amusement park but I am being realistic.  I'm glad I went in 2017 and got several rides on Blue Streak.  What a fantastic coaster!  The feel of the coaster and the park is like no other!

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Took a trip to the park today.  For all of the “clean up” that went on, the place still looks like a dump.  Actually, it looked better back in 2019.  
 

Apparently admission plans vary.  The girl at the ticket booth asked if I was “just there to walk around”, and I said I’d like to ride the Devil’s Den.  She said I can buy 4 tickets for $10 (each ride is one ticket).  All day ride pass was $15.   Plus the “water park” is an additional charge.  I decided to buy the 4 tickets.  The park is selling t-shirts and tank tops inside the main gate if you want to show your support 🙄
 

Walking in, the first thing you see is that the cables and tubs of the Flying Scooters are missing.  A “No Trespassing” sign is posted on the ride’s fence.  To the right of the Flying Scooters, the Paratrooper is also down with no signs of life.  Also at the front of the park is a new, portable Dizzy Dragons ride and a very old Swing ride which was just plopped down on a muddy piece of land (old Tilt A Whirl site).  And finally, a new 3 lane portable slide was set up to the left of the main entrance.  
 

As you walk down the midway, the train is closed and the entrance crime scene taped off, the mini golf course is closed with a “No Trespassing” sign attached and that all violators will be prosecuted.  The old Tumble Bug cars are just randomly plopped along the midway here, reminding guests of a ride that was just not able to be salvaged.  The water slides and lazy river were doing a good business, so that was good to see.  As you keep walking, the empty spot where the Bug used to reside is fenced off, as is the former Music Express site.  Further back, the “new” Octopus can be seen, but it is not operating.  The Blue Streak station is sitting there with peeling paint and obviously no activity.  The Carousel was running and looked decent.  There was an odd thing about the rides up front as there are no more paths to the rides. Just mulched areas. 🤷🏻‍♂️  The Devils Den was probably the most popular ride.  It was missing its classic sign, but the inside was in fine working order and all the stunts looked great.  Major props to Devils Den Tom for all of his hard work and upkeep of this classic dark ride.  

Another funny thing was that they had carnival games set up.  A ring the bottle game was set up on a picnic table.  A dart balloon game was set up across the way, and a “Ninja Warrior” bar hang was randomly set up outside the Carousel.  It was truly bizarre.  But this is Conneaut Lake, so I guess I shouldn’t have expected any different!

On the former site of Witch’s Stew sits what looks like a new portable Tilt A Whirl.  It too was not operating.  And next door to that was the old Trabant, stripped down with the cars freshly painted and possibly awaiting reinstallation.  A very small pony ride was set up across from Kiddieland.  I didn’t travel through Kiddieland though, but it looks like a few small rides were thrown up randomly and the old kiddie carousel was removed.  

Finally, the old midway area was completely leveled and has fencing placed all around it.  No Log Cabin Gift Shop, no game buildings, no old Hostile Hostel building… just grass and a lone food stand.  This is where it really sunk in that this really may be the final year for Conneaut Lake.  Just looking around and taking it all in was surreal.  While I will stay positive that the park will survive, I just don’t see it happening.  
 

Sorry for the long write up.  I’ll try and get some pics up tomorrow.  

 

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Thank you very much for uptate!  It sounds like the end is near.  This season is probably the last.....unless someone, some organization steps in and saves the park, or at least the Blue Streak.  It's not too late yet.  The park is still open and the Blue Streak is still standing.

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I realize he bought the park pretty last minute to fix this place up entirely. But it certainly seems like he could've gotten the mini golf up and running, as well as the Flyers, Tilt-A-Whirl, etc. Putting in these VERY temporary looking rides just seems pretty short-sighted. Clearly not somebody who has any experience running a park. May not have an interest in doing so beyond this year. Ain't no way in the world he will put his own money toward fixing the Blue Streak if he can't be bothered to put the $$ into fixing the flats they still have left.

I'd love for the park to succeed. Blue Streak, the Carousel, and Devil's Den are worth keeping around (as were the Turtles).

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Here's a few pics from my visit this past Sunday.

The "new" Slide is located right inside the main entrance

Slide.thumb.jpg.ffd56c7058a934bdeff3c46017fe0a3c.jpg

The Flying Scooters were missing a few things

Scooters.thumb.jpg.f879122f0a9630f9397b8d4cb7e6689b.jpg

"New" Swings and Dizzy Dragons.  A lot of thought and care went into the placement of these rides 🙄

SwingsDragons.thumb.jpg.494e0569b32253f9eaa8ce9212832d76.jpg

One of the Bug cars near the Cliffhanger Falls waterslide complex

WaterslidesBug1.thumb.jpg.0be7cc4b9508524c31928d2acac77a8f.jpg

Another of the Bug cars near where the ride once stood.  The "new" Octopus, which was down, can be seen in the background

FormerBugSite.thumb.jpg.09b724623900fcf32dad7044dadf2c96.jpg

Blue Streak station area

StreakMidway.thumb.jpg.ae375acee74025268628a9580c7fd2e6.jpg

Bumper Car building 

BumperCar.thumb.jpg.c937d0366c3accb959ceace8561d6073.jpg

 

BumperCarInterior.thumb.jpg.79b6d834032887ce9cbe716bc87a81c9.jpg

Balloon Break game near the CarouselCarouselGame.thumb.jpg.23c28c1995d9be733fcec9ea9eb192b6.jpg

 

Devil's Den Midway

DenMidway.thumb.jpg.6df96fe6ea31996a577601cfdc6be73b.jpg

"New" Tilt A Whirl

TiltTrabant.thumb.jpg.201add1362183ccfa7e3b6fbcbeb1618.jpg

Trabant cars await reassembly.  Who knows if or when that will happen

TrabantCars.thumb.jpg.b99e5720ee36538d77e4d666b9a4974d.jpg

A "new" kiddie train ride placed in a beautifully maintained corner of Kiddieland

MudPath.thumb.jpg.462057f62c8228eb68ef5c34039ce6b5.jpg

Here's the former Midway area.  It took me a while to fully comprehend what had happened here as I have been visiting this park since 1973.  Being in a fenced in open area was just a very odd feeling

FormerMidway.thumb.jpg.094a6732386f42172e0bc4a266e0d1a5.jpg

 

FoodJoint.thumb.jpg.2ffa94968a0d14b4dd33c6a69c94e584.jpg

 

UpgradeSign.thumb.jpg.59a666d0cd74f7c6c2de63c220c06c96.jpg

And finally a look at the Boardwalk.  The "Tiki Bar" is on the far left

Boardwalk.thumb.jpg.c0e78ca6da362a5082b78198ade6b8ab.jpg

 

 

 

 

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So a real estate developer bought the park and is clearing the prime real estate near the water so it's now just an empty lot with a nice boardwalk, slowly closing everything permanent and throwing up a few carnival rides that they can tow out of there in a few hours to reveal more empty, buildable lots?

Sounds like the future of the park is looking bright! I'm sure Blue Streak will reopen in no-time. 🤣

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