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Conneaut Lake Park (CLP) Discussion Thread


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Although I wish Blue Streak could've been saved, this turn of events doesn't surprise me.On my one and only trip there 10+ years ago, almost all the buildings looked abandoned-or that they should have been. Any word on the carousel and Devil's Den?

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For sure pretty much everything was quite delapidated.  Glad I went in 2005 and 2017!  They should be able to sell the carousel.  Devil Den might not be as easy to disassemble and rebuild.

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Let's be honest with ourselves here; these guys couldn't dismantle a coaster without starting a fire.  I have zero confidence in their ability to dismantle a dark ride without destroying it.  I've resolved myself to the fact that Devil's Den is simply another classic dark ride that I will never experience, just like the Spook House in Keansburg.

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Carousel had been listed for sale. They also posted (after failing to sell) that the carousel would be back next year. Which obviously seems challenging to say the least. The ride mechanism is obviously historic but few (if any) of the horses are actually all that old.

Devil's Den will likely not find a home. I don't know where it would even make sense, realistically. It's a little... ghetto for most parks to accept, probably.

I am really disappointed that the park is going down this way. But I understand the cynics who would be happy to see it gone. I would rather the park exist than not, is all.

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Truth be told, I thought Devil's Den was just okay and I thought the gum wall was gross but I did recently come across the posts from the guy who was taking care of it and I appreciate the amount of work he put into it with zero budget.

I see no reason why any other park would buy that thing, though.

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2 hours ago, Taylor Finn said:

Carousel had been listed for sale. They also posted (after failing to sell) that the carousel would be back next year. Which obviously seems challenging to say the least. The ride mechanism is obviously historic but few (if any) of the horses are actually all that old.

 

I'm likely the biggest (or 2nd biggest if Laura is still active on the boards these days) Carousel fan among the "regular" posters here at TPR.

and yeah.. .  I don't care about the Carousel here.   It's NOT "historic". it's just old and not lovingly taken care of.

(as you note, some of the mechanisms might be from 1905, but most of the horses are not:

"The carousel was refurbished in 1989 with 19 of the antique carousel horses auctioned to raise money for its restoration. The original horses that were auctioned were replaced with hand-carved wooden figures from Carousel Works of Mansfield, Ohio. In 2002, five of the original horses were restored in Mansfield and returned to the carousel. "

 

- per the Meadville Tribune story about it being put up for sale in Sept. of 2021).

as far as I'm concerned?  it would be more important as an art piece:
 

tumblr_f0126dd727b4054ced35c219148c891e_d09acd78_1280.jpg

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40 minutes ago, ricklap77 said:

I am wondering what will happen next!  Will they keep the Hotel Conneaut?  Some amusement rides?  Will they build new homes right away this summer!?

At this point it seems anything goes now, and nothing is untouchable. I think they have some events and festivals scheduled for next summer, but who knows if those are cover or what.

As a wise man once said on this thread "Stick a fork in this place"...

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Looks like the Blue Streak iconic turnaround got unceremoniously torn down today: https://fb.watch/ay2a-CAJA8/

As much as I know there was no saving the park, this is just sad to watch. A lot of memories from the park in its final "glory" years and just visiting during the early 2000s just to take a ride on BS with my father (who is no longer with us). Feels like a piece of me is going with it.

Gotta love progress.

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It is indeed very sad.  As far as I am aware only the trains were saved from the demolition.  Apparently all signs inside the station were scrapped.  I have a hard time thinking some organizations such as ACE didn't step in drastically to save the Blue Streak.  I know in the past they did and have been monumental in keeping the coaster up.  I know some people just think its time had come but I am sure more could have been done.  Obviously the pandemic is somewhat a bit responsible for the outcome.  Had it not been for the pandemic and the closure of the park in 2020 I think CLP would still be in business.  The park was profitable and the Blue Streak received new track work on the lift hill in the Fall of 2019, which the trains never rolled on.  I guess the pandemic, and, the sale to the wrong new owner are the cause of all this.  We certainly can blame him for many things, but he was the only bidder at the sale of the park.  Last Fall the Knoebels were seen at the park purchasing some stuff like benches...etc.  I just wish they would have stepped in to save and or relocate the Blue Streak.  They are the best at doing this.  But again I ackowledge the coaster was not in the best shape and it was maybe just as much money to relocate it than to build brand new.  What makes it more sad and frustrating in this whole story is that the owner Todd Joseph never spoke the truth about the park.  He seemed to hate it and wanted to get rid of the amusement park as soon as he purchased it.  Had he been transparent all along, the people and the community would be more accepting of the outcome, and some stuff from the Blue Streak could have been saved and auctionned off.  The Blue Streak had a lot of history with it.  It's the least he could have done.

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The owner was foolish in how he communicated and that rubbed salt in many wounds, but the outcome was almost inevitable. I agree that without the pandemic, the park would have had a fighting chance for a few more years, but the long term viability was still in question. The park simply needed a savior with deep pockets, an interest in saving historic rides, and enough business savvy to make the park work long term. Obviously there aren't enough of those people to go around. 

In my time as an enthusiast I've watched at least the following classic parks get demolished: Bell's Amusement park, Lesourdsville lake/Americana park, Joyland (Wichita), William's Grove, Miracle Strip, and probably a few others that I have forgotten. It always sucks seeing the irreplaceable classics fade away, but that's life I guess. The classics are classics for a reason and they aren't guaranteed to stick around forever. Get to Lake Winnie while you still can. 

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I totally agree with you.  CLP is not the last park to get demolished.  And Blue Streak is not the last coaster to get demolished.  There will be more.  We have to enjoy the parks and coasters while we can.  They are not eternal.  Although we have lost many wooden coasters since the new millenium, we are lucky to still have classic parks and wooden coasters around to ride.  Times change.  And right now, the pandemic is certainly not helping.

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On 1/9/2022 at 8:10 AM, ricklap77 said:

I am wondering what will happen next!  Will they keep the Hotel Conneaut?  Some amusement rides?  Will they build new homes right away this summer!?

Conneaut Lake Park is dead without its marque rollercoaster. There is no other noteworthy attraction there (Devil's Den isn't that great) and the park is really run down. The lake itself is nice but I don't think its enough to sustain a modern day amusement park especially when there's far better parks nearby (Waldermeer to the north and Kennywood to the south). I'm not sure if the hotel will survive but probably not under its current state. It could be sold and remodeled and survive without an amusement park since there's the lake for recreation but Conneaut Lake is a highly seasonal and regional destination.

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/29/2022 at 7:23 AM, ricklap77 said:

Well, now not only it's dead it's buried!

Not so fast! The park has announced the first of many exciting events for the new season…

7B9759ED-EBE9-47B1-A551-B070E4E8459F.jpeg

… go ahead and Google it. I assure you that this is real. 😂 

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Some may be upset or sad, but with this latest "event" I'm glad the park is done. I'd rather the park be failed and the owners name tarnished than a man like that to continue to make any money what so ever by revitalizing it. Hope the rest burns to the ground at this point and with any hope the parks legacy will be remembered for something better than him.

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I still don't understand why we're supposed to hate this guy. If he outbid a bunch of other people who wanted to keep it as an amusement park then yeah, I could see why fans of the park would be disappointed but he was the only one who even bothered to bid because nobody wanted the place. He bought an entire amusement park and giant waterfront property for $1.2 million. None of these preservationist groups put in a bid. Even if someone scraped together some money on GoFundMe and put in a losing bid, at least we could say that SOMEONE wanted the place but nobody else did.

Obviously I've always been vocal about how much I disliked this park but I'm really not taking this stance because of that. If Standard Amusements came in and said "We're going to buy it, bring in GCI to fix up the coaster, clean the place up and add a bunch of new rides" I would have been like "F*ck yeah!" and I WISH that happened but it didn't.

Also, they put the rides up for sale including Blue Streak at one point. Nobody bought them. They probably would have let someone take that thing for free if they covered the cost of getting it out of there but again... nobody wanted it.

Nobody wanted the park or the coaster but everyone wanted to tell the only guy who did want it how he was supposed to run the place that they couldn't be bothered to bid a single penny on.

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Like I said months earlier, a lot of it has to do with how he communicated. If he had been clear from the start that his intentions were to raze the property and do different things with it, we would have been disappointed and there would have been some gnashing of teeth from some, but in the end the shock would have faded and it would have been easier to come to terms with. The stringing along and false promises and BS is what makes him hate-able. 

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I really don't believe that people would have been any less angry, but since that isn't how this played out we can't do anything about it other than agree to disagree I guess.

At the end of the day he had no obligation to communicate anything to anyone. Also, in his defense the park is still operating as a park for now. If I had to venture a guess, would I say that I expect this place to exist in 10 years? No. Still though, it's not that unreasonable of an argument that the park might be more profitable without the ride that probably took up the vast majority of their maintenance budget and an old Tumble Bug that was probably impossible to get replacement parts for.

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