Two plans for the future of Conneaut Lake Park are on the table in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Erie, and interested parties object to both. Park trustees plan to continue operating the amusement park, sell property not essential to the park, and pay off park debts over 20 years.
Read more from The Erie Times-News.
The park's repayment plan "fails to adequately explain the substantial deviation between (future financial) projections and historical performance and how the circumstances going forward will be different from what has transpired in the past," Joint Municipal Authority attorney Guy Fustine said in court filings.
I've never been to this park, but if what I'm hearing about it being in bad shape is true, I think this park should just be put out of it's misery.
I first visited in June 2003 and actually had a real nice time. The place was still in decent shape, all the rides were up and running and it was a run down, yet nice place to be. Subsequent visits when I went to college nearby from 2005-the most recent closure just got worse as the place was literally falling apart, yet somehow operating. A weeknight summer visit in August 2014 had me thinking I had truly stumbled into an abandoned amusement park that was somehow still running. The biggest score was some old Geauga Lake merchandise they were selling in the only gift shop. I took two rides on Blue Streak, and that was enough for a lifetime. I can't remember a more depressing amusement park experience than that night. I believe I counted six other people in the park.
I dunno. I think they could really do it this time.... right after Charlie Brown kicks that football.
"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin
Looks like the bankruptcy judge ordered the parties to mediation within the next 60 days.
Yesterday's hearing was to approve disclosure statements for the two competing plans. Had the court approved them, the disclosure statements and plans would have been sent to creditors for a vote. If one of the plans is approved by the creditors, the bankruptcy court would conduct a confirmation hearing to determine if that plan otherwise satisfies the Bankruptcy Code requirements. If neither plan gets the required creditor vote, its back to the drawing board. Though often its possible to negotiate with creditors to get them to accept a plan.
If the mediation fails, the court likely will seek to have the disclosure statements modified to comply with the Bankruptcy Code and then sent out to creditors for a vote.
Bankruptcy courts are courts of equity so they can consider other factors beyond the strict letter of the law. Jobs in the community is a big thumb on the scale in favor of keeping businesses open (with existing owners/management or after a sale as a going concern). As such, debtors are often given a lot of leeway to works things out.
Seems like you have something of a unique situation because typically taxing authorities are looking to keep jobs to maintain tax bases. I don't know much about the park and its history. But if groups who typically want businesses to remain open (employing local folks) wants the business closed and its assets sold, its probably past time to close.
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