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Conneaut Lake Park (CLP) Discussion Thread

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There is going to be a pubilc meeting about CLP on Jan 28 at 1 pm. At Stable Pit and Pub on the East side of the lake.



Conneaut Lake resident to host forum to get answers for public on park issues


By Jane Smith, Meadville Tribune




CONNEAUT LAKE - A businesswoman has set up a public forum Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. * the Cow Shed to hear about 2007 plans for Conneaut Lake Park.


Wanda Ramaley, Owner of the Stable Pit and Pub and Cow Shed, sent a letter to. LeRoy Stearns, the park's court-appointed manager, and park general manager George Deshner asking them to attend. However, both said Thursday they won't be there.


Ramaley sent a letter to Stearns and outlined the format. She said Conneaut Lake Area Business Association Donald Weyel would read questions that "we as owners of an amusement park that is financially troubled, and also a park that none of us asked to own" want to have answered. "We need answers, not a scream-fest," she wrote.


She said she wants Steams' answers to be made public to everyone and has extended invitations to the press from Erie, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, Sharon, Yottngstown, Meadville and Linesville and for Armstrong cable television to tape the meeting.


"Many of us feel that there are too many issues that the judge does not know about, and feel that by going public with this meeting, that it may permit the judge to view the 'entire' picture, not just the viewpoint" of the court-appointed manager, "who self-proclaims not to spend too much time at the park itself."


In referring to the judge, she was talking about Crawford County Court of Common Pleas 'Judge Anthony Vardaro, who appointed Stearns.


The 114-year-old amusement park is under court supervision following lawsuits and rulings that the park is a charitable trust.


She advised Stearns that she would "guess. that you would welcome the chance to answer all of our questions. For the pay you receive," she said, "1 expect you to honor requests from the 'owners' to be there:" '


"Please be advised that the meeting will happen whether you choose to attend or not. I am sure the . newspapers and news stations will have a field day reporting that the custodian (court-appointed manager) does not deem it necessary to answer to the owners of this business, she continued. Steams said Thursday he has already held several public meetings and until he has more information to report he won't attend another one. He: said if somebody has concerns about what is happening at the park they can send him a letter and he will respond.


Stearns is the first court appointed manager of the park to hold public meetings to discuss the park's operation.


Ramaley said as a business owner she must know whether the park and Hotel Conneaut will open in 2007 so she can make decisions about hall rentals. "I don't want to rent the upstairs to a class reunion for 40 if I can rent it for a wedding reception for 300 or 400," she said. "It's very critical for the nature of my business to know exactly what is going to happen (to the park)," Ramaley said.


Many people who can't rent the hotel have turned to the Stable Pit and Pub and Cow Shed in the past.


She said she expects the following to attend the' meeting: Frank Flanigan, operator of the Beach Club, a bar and restaurant in the park; RainaIey's sister, who had a problem at the park's Rib Fest; and Roger and Bonnie Williard, who help organize the park's DoWopp events.



Jane Smith can be reached at 724-6370 or bye-mail at ; jsmith@meadvilletribune.com


If you are interested and need directions just ask I can help.

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The Bumper Cars are the best I rode they are fast and Furious.


And the Round Up I don't understand Why it did not reopen. When I ran it as it went up a hose riped and Hydrolic Fluid poured out and the breaks went. It reopened the next day. The same thing happened when it went down and the next day they were going to fix it but we got a bad storm and mantmence did not get back out to fix it.

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I wonder how i missed that article in the Meadville trib...


Yeah, if stearns and crew don't show, it won't look good at all.

There's still way too many unanswered questions about last seasons financials that don't make sense.


I might attend that meeting. If for no other reason, to visit an area i like. Is Conneaut Cellars open on sundays? I need a restock on my wine cellar.


Kid: thanks for posting this.

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I would discourage everyone from going to this meeting. While I am sure that it will be "interesting", it is just someone pounding their chest trying to get answers to something that doesn't concern them.


But in 1997 it was deeded as a public trust, so it's hard to say what concerns may or may not be justified. I've read on several sites as well as in the meadville trib, that public meetings concerning the park were either never anounced to the public or announced after the fact.


You may be right about the chest pounding, but there might also be legitimate concerns. Who knows, maybe the person hosting it might want to be the next head-honcho after Stearns gets the ax.


I just don't think they want a Chippewa lake on their hands.

I agree, it will be interesting. I wonder if their going to offer half-priced beer during the meeting?

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Here's some potential good news. I know this entire saga is frustrating for everyone but I do think things will work out.


Park receives formal land bid; future gets a little brighter

By Jane Smith



The possibility of Conneaut Lake Park opening this year appears a little brighter that it did just a few weeks ago.


A formal bid has been received from a private developer to purchase the 3.3 acres of land that was offered for sale at the end of last year.


"We will be working out the details, hopefully by the end of next week," said LeRoy Stearns, court-appointed manager, after announcing the bid Friday.


"As far as the opening of the park, I can't make any announcements yet," he said. "There are a lot of details to be worked out, and public input," but he said it looks good if all goes well.


The park had sought proposals last month for purchase of the land. Although 28 inquiries were received concerning the advertised sale, only two proposals were received by the deadline. However, neither met the guidelines, and they were rejected.


After the deadline, Conneaut Concessions submitted a proposal to lease the park, Stearns said, but that didn't meet proposed guidelines either.


The guidelines were for the purchase of the 3.3 acres including the Flynn House and parking lot adjacent to it. Proceeds were to be used to pay off most of the $2.2 million debt and have money to open the park this spring.


In the meantime, a private bid was submitted Thursday. After checking with attorney Christopher Youngs, Stearns said he learned that since the sale was advertised once, it didn't have to be advertised again and the private sale could proceed.


Stearns said anybody else wishing to submit a formal bid may do so by sending it to Youngs at 363 Chestnut St. Meadville.


Stearns said Youngs will "hammer out the details," and once that is done, he will present the recent offer the Crawford County Court of Common Please Judge Anthony Vardaro for approval.


Stearns will hold a public meeting the receive input about the sale once the details are final. Until then, however, he can't release the name of the bidder, the amount of the offer or any other details.


In the late 1990s, the 115-year-old amusement park fell under the supervision of the court after former trustees were sued and the park was declared by the court to be a charitable trust. It had been deeded to the Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park from it former owner to be held in "trust for the citizens of north-western Pennsylvania."

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I like what the buyer is saying. He has a long connection to the area, cares about the park staying open and he is even going to let those leasing houses on the land stay.


It's amazing to read the comments on the bottom of the article. Many locals don't want the park to change one bit yet they think that's enough keep it open. They'd rather have the park close and save some docks on the lake that they use (but obviously don't own) than have some condos built on land that the park owned but didn't utilize for it's patrons. But I guess if I had some kind of special access to a dock maybe I'd care less about anyone else but myself too if that access was threatened.


To me this sale and condo building on outlying waterfront property is necessary. I'll only worry if after this sale the park falls back in to debt and needs to sell more land that is actually part of the amusement area. But until then this one time sale should eliminate the debt that built up from years of mismangement.

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I am glad I am not the only one who thinks the comments in the article from the paper are crazy! I don't know what it is with those people.


I think the park has the potential to make some money, but what seems to be killing it now is the interest on loans, and fees on back taxes. If all they are paying now is loan payment, and penalties on back taxes, they would have never been able to get into the black. However, if they can get the debt paid off, and spend some of the money they were using for taxes and loans, on rides and upkeep, I think it will come back to what it was in the 70s and 80s. I don't think it will every be a destination, but I do think it can be, and has been a great local family park, such as Waldameer is.


And as far as the people’s comments in the article about Sterns, I met him twice, and I thought he was a jerk. But as far as Deshner, I have seen nothing but good from him. Seems like he was the only one who saw that the rides are what bring most people to the park. Also it does not seem as if Deshner is afraid to work! I have seen him do everything from working in the kitchen to help work on rides. I don't know why the area people give him a bad rap. Maybe there is something we don't know.


Anyway, hopefully after years or teetering on the edge of closing again, maybe things will start to turn around this year.

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^ The reason people dis like him is because he is rude to the guests and Employees. Also I don't think I seen him walking once he is always driving his golf cart.


He also fired my friend because she did not want to run the Bumper Cars because the roof was leaking and there is a lot of votage running above the cars.


He does not know how to run an amusement park. He learns from RTC and that dosn't help him.

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Wow, who turned down that 50 mill for park improvements? Please, somebody kick their ass for me, could you imagine what they could have been with that? You're in debt, and turn down money because it's "too much"?! Makes no sense. Thats all I caught, and I'm in awe because of that....

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i could see them turning down 50 million. This would be a huge debt on top of what they already have. Considering they lost 198,000 at the restaurant and lounge last summer, they need to tighten up their reporting procedures. About two, three years ago, they purchased an accounting program that was to prevent such things from happening, but that, like all other programs, is only as good as the person that inputs the information.

If i were in charge of CLP, I'd be worried if I got a 50 million dollar loan

I've worked in the restaurant industry before as a night mgr. When we were losing 100 a day, all sorts of bells and whistles went off. Figures and inventories would not add up. When a case of 1/4lb patties vanished, we knew it that night when we inventoried. We were making about 10k a day. No way was CLP's restaurant making that kind of money and they were losing almost 2k a day. (that's a lot of steak and alcohol disappearing. Someone had said a while back that booze was always coming up gone a couple of years ago.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went to the meeting today it was a bit of a dissapontmet because nether George Deshner the parks manager or Leroy Stearns the court appointed overseer was there. There was alot of Critizim against the operations of the park.


But here is what happend


It began with the owner of stable pit telling a bit of history on how the park got in bad shape. Then metioned the guy who put up a fence around the park and charged admission. When she said that an employee of the pub pulled back a curtin and reveld a figure that looked like it belonged in a Haunted House representing the guy who ruined the park. I wished I had my camera.


After that she introduced the Economic Eliance group, who are incharge of reviewing the books and figuring out how much the park owes. Which is $2,769,000. Which includes almost 1 million in unpaid electric bills from the last 3 years. They also talked about the land and said about redevelopment plans including a marina, and Recrational trails. They also brought up about turning the Hotel Conneaut into a confrence center and a year round hotel. They also said in order to do that they might have to rebuild the whole thing.


Next they introduced Crawford County Tourism who just said that Pymatuming state park is number one tourist attraction in Crawford County and Conneaut Lake Park is number two.


Next was Frank (can't remember his last name) who is leasing the Beach Club. He talked about how he runs the club and how Deshner runs the park. He was telling a story about one day they park did not open due to the weather and he entertained kids that were staying at the hotel he said he did not want them to get a bad impression of the park and he lost money by keeping some of his staff on hand. He also say the Bluestreak may not open this summer because it maynot pass inspection because it needs new wheels and new wood.


It is bad when the park operators could not even show up.They need new mangement and not a Dogcatcher and a retierd princable.


Stearns the dog catcher

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