Better Days ahead for Conneaut Lake Park

A lease agreement has been reached and we may see the Hotel Conneaut, the Beach Club and, few Rides open by the end of the year along with a Haunted Park in October. *** Edited 7/29/2008 4:03:02 PM UTC by Ken Jones***

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
Here we go again.... Hope it works this time. :)

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

It makes no sense to me to open before the end of the year expecially since you've been known to be closed for two years. Instead of racking up licensing fees for operations, vendors, rides ect. Take that money that would be used this year and use it toward marketing for next season.

Lot of dough for a couple weeks of operation which would ultimately be a failure.

Great News.

We went through the park a couple of weekends ago.
Place looked good for the most part.

Great Lakes Brewery Patron...


I'd rather see the money set aside to reopen things for an entire season next year, instead of a few weeks this year.
If Sutterlin and his partners are leasing parts of the property from the Trustees, and putting money out to make the needed improvements, I see no problems with them trying to recoup that money this year through these different events.

This appears to be much different than the usual "loan the Trustees some operating cash" arrangement we've seen for the past few years.

One of the main challenges for CLP will be the competition from Waldameer now that the Erie park has a major wooden coaster.

The key for Conneaut Lake now is not to compete head-to-head with Waldameer or any other park but to focus on special events that can draw visitors in. There is also the nostalgia factor associated with a park on a small lake, a type of park once common but now rare. *** Edited 7/30/2008 11:30:45 AM UTC by Arthur Bahl***

Arthur Bahl

Thanks to Waldameer having entered the big leagues with Ravine Flyer II, I don't think Conneaut can compete with them as a "traditional" amusement park. For Conneaut to survive, they are going to have to do what I've been suggesting they do for years, which is become some sort of entertainment venue with numerous entertainment options. In addition to amusements, there should be lake activities, restaurants and concerts. I think that kind of venue would be very successful since there is nothing like it in the area.
rollergator's avatar
One of the things that might work for Conneaut is a waterski/PWC kind of show, like a mix between what they do at Cypress and IB...they have GOT to offer something different from what you get at the other local(-ish) parks. Waldameer getting RF2 up and running isn't going to make things easier for CLP.

Bingo nights, dining and dancing, things other places don't do - that's the only real hope for continued operations in the longer-term, IMO. Also have to agree with the sentiment that the money might be better spent gearing up for a Grand Reopening in '09.

What other small park has such a great mascot in Connie Otter (yes, I got my pic with Connie) combined with the older rides and the ultimate in park employees - the one and only "Grandma" (also got a hug and a pic with Grandma)?

Lord Gonchar's avatar
In other words (based on what the above posts suggest or say), CLP cannot survive as an amusement park. They need to be a much more diversified entertainment/event location that happens to have rides on property.

I'd agree with that. CLP is not a viable amusement park business any more. People don't visit that area like they once did. It's not a regional getaway on the scale it used to be. The park cannot rely on those people to filll the park because they aren't coming. Give them a reason to come (like the suggestions others have made - concerts, lake events, bingo, etc) and then the park gets visited.

But that leads me to wonder why they need the rides at all. If people aren't coming for the rides and the only way to survive is to create other reasons for people to be there, why not get rid of the dead weight (the rides) and become something else entirely that is actually sustainable?

Thinking out loud. :)

rollergator's avatar
^The rides give the kids something to do while the grandparents are watching Wayne Newton on the karaoke stage... ;)

rollergator said:
^The rides give the kids something to do while the grandparents are watching Wayne Newton on the karaoke stage... ;)


just give us Cheap Trick, Quiet Riot, Loverboy and Reo Speedwagon!


Great Lakes Brewery Patron...


Lord Gonchar's avatar
Damn straight! :)

Even with RF, it doesn't seem like Waldameer is an all-day park. As much as I'd love to make my first visit there, I'm not keen on the idea of driving 6 hours to get there, spending a few hours at the park, then... what?

I could see CLP complementing rather than competing with Waldameer, especially with there being no (sizable) park in NE Ohio anymore. Offer some different attractions as was suggested so the experience isn't the same. But I don't see a need to totally get rid of what's there now. I guess it's called finding your niche. Look how it works for Lakemont and DelGrosso's; Hershey and Dutch Wonderland (even before Hershey took it over).

What would work greatly for both parks is not to market themselves as individual sites, but as one attraction among several in a multi-day visit to the area. If there's a northwest PA tourist association, work with them. Better yet, have them work for you.

Here are a few comments from this rare poster:

1. NOW is the PERFECT time to get things rolling. It will help get the word out to aid the 2009 efforts. It should be known that there was a pretty solid showing for last year's Labor Day Weekend and Pumpkin Fest WITHOUT the park. This area has and has had many challenges with negative publicity, fire, closed business and major highway construction. The more positive efforts, the better.

2. I join those who suggest that this park needs more (i.e.- festivals, concerts, water activities, etc.) in order to survive. To market CLP as an amusement park is useless. Focus on the "resort" and surrounding amenities.

3. Don't be surprised to see the ride offerings scaled down. I foresee the elimination of the carny and spinner rides. The carousel, train, kiddies, dark ride, Bug, Scooters and coaster will probably remain. I am not so sure of the others. (TRIVIA: Did you know the Round Up was purchased from Old Indiana, who purchased it from Santa Cruz Boardwalk? It was even in the movie "Lost Boys".) Anyway, any "ride" addition I foresee would be in the water park.

I am happy to see something positive happening. It's just odd that it seems the deal is the one that should have happened in April/May '07. Best wishes to them!

Ken *** Edited 8/1/2008 4:17:41 PM UTC by CastleKing***

coasterqueenTRN's avatar
LOL, Gonch!

Flyingscooter, I would drive up to Erie to see that if it was one big show!

Don't forget to throw Poison into the mix. ;)


*** Edited 8/2/2008 3:12:23 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

Tina : Poison... I forgot about them...
Did you ever see a video from CC Devilles solo project doing "heeeey, good lookin' what ya got cookin'..." Scariest thing i ever saw... lol

Conneaut should probably skip having Great White play there though. One fire is enough...

Great Lakes Brewery Patron...


RatherGoodBear.....are you kidding??? Waldameer is an all-day park! They now have a Top 10 wooden coaster! They also have a classic wooden coaster, the BEST drop tower, two great dark rides, the best spinning coaster, a great sky ride, a great train ride, and a great waterpark!! And don't forget the beautiful view of Lake Erie!

I have been to Waldameer 4 times this year and will be there at the Mid-Summer Scream Event on August 16th. I enjoy the entire day on each visit!

Conneaut Lake is also an all-day park!

Keep the small parks alive!
Mamoosh's avatar
As much as I love both Conneaut and Waldameer they're only full-day parks if you take a very leisurely pace.
Waldameer on a busy day is a full day outing if you go to the waterpark and by not making a marathon out of your stay. Conneaut is a full day outing only if you do absolutely everything possible which is really not much. If you are a tourist, I would set aside a day for Waldameer, and stop at Conneaut (if it is actually operating) on your way home the next day. Although, after visiting Conneaut you may need the rest of the day to bathe as the rides, attractions, and facilities are very disgusting.

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