Big Dipper to Cedar Point?

Thursday, April 24, 2008 7:30 AM

MHammer82 said:
I would think that PremierDrum would have obtained more info at some point in the day ... since it sounds like their job ... I wish they'd post an update.


Sorry for the delay.. a lot of stuff came up yesterday keeping me from updating. I'll type the full document here in a few minutes. Looking at it again, it is less of a press release, more of a complaint, with all the numbers checking back to Richard Munch, by whom it is signed.

The document was sent to the Cleveland stations as well, but none of the other Columbus stations, nor Toledo. I don't know why it was sent to me here, unless someone knew of my involvements with this and other coaster sites.

Edit: here is the full release, as it came to me yesterday.

I told you I would let you know of any news on Geauga – I have an update on the Geauga Lake property. We got word over the weekend that Cedar Fair was preparing for a press conference at Geauga Lake this Wednesday (tomorrow). That was called off and now it will be presented as a simple press release. At this time, we anticipate that they will announce that they will be moving the Big Dipper from Geauga Lake to Cedar Point! We are totally flabbergasted.

It appears that this is a knee jerk reaction to all the negative press they have received since they closed the amusement park side of the lake in September. After all, why make this announcement just after accepting sealed bids on the property May 23rd? It doesen’t seem logical, but not much has made sense since the closing.

The short of it is they initially tried to sell the Big Dipper (and two other coasters on property) and there was little interest. Please note the emphasis on the word move. There has never been a discussion to keep the ride intact on site. It is very clear that they do not want to leave the ride intact, as part of any mixed use development, which would be the preference. We do not know why they had such a distaste for Geauga Lake, but they are certainly doing a great job annihilating it. The press release will most likely include some type of “we are saving the ride and we are preservationists.” Nothing may be further from the truth, but they will rely on that angle to make this work to the press.

For many this is a solution that appears reasonable, but will be the death of the park. That may be what they wanted all along and they finally figured out a way to get the goal, without looking too terrible. I can not anticipate what the public will think of this move. Personally I have mixed emotions because the ultimate goal is to preserve the Big Dipper. But I question if this is just a façade, as to whether they actually will ever rebuild the coaster. For instance, if it is not rebuilt immediately (for the 2009 season), it would be put in storage and provide numerous excuses over the next few years (i.e. rotted wood, no room, no budget, etc) as to why they haven’t rebuilt it. Meanwhile the (Geauga) Property will be developed and the story would simply go away. That is what I expect, although I have not seen the press release. If it’s eventually rebuilt, I believe it will never be the same. Additional safety devices and other updating will be required. The cars are historical – but they would probably go with lighter and more historical rolling stock. Meanwhile it could never compete with anything that Cedar Point operates. It does not fit into the context of the park. Cedar Point’s oldest ride is the Blue Streak – which was built in 1964 in response to both Euclid Beach’s Thriller and Geauga Lake’s Big Dipper (what we call an out-and-back coaster). The Big Dipper would be just a smaller Blue Streak. And it would never get respect, left as a reminder of the park they didn’t want, at an estimated $3-5M cost to move. It would probably be cheaper and easier to donate the land around the Dipper and save face at the same time. That would make them generous and truly preservationists. But that is not in the cards. This is a company that is looking to quickly lower its debt after purchasing the Paramount Parks chain in 2006, so it is not feeling very charitable, to say the lease.

It is unfortunate that this is the only solution they felt was worthy. Ironically, they may feel that the coaster was an obstacle for any development on the site, or that they might get a better sales price for the land, without the structures on the property. As you may know, I am working with a group of developers and investors with my architectural firm in Cleveland, to redevelop the park into a mixed-use complex. The Big Dipper, meanwhile has always been part of our plans, and the agents knew this, even as they attempted to sell it over the last four months. Maybe that was the giveaway? For our team, we always felt it was the focus of the redevelopment of the site – the signature attraction that bring the crowds back and returns some normalcy to Geauga Lake. The timing of the announcement is such that it may kill such a deal, which may be the true purpose. If it is a deal breaker for the development team we have lined up, then Cedar Fair has won the battle and we have truly lost the history. The park really needs to stay- even as a small facility. It gives continuation to a community that has grown up around it. Otherwise Cleveland will have lost its last major amusement park to corporate growth.

Only last week we discovered that Cedar Fair moved their May 15th Stockholders meeting from Sandusky to California. An insider suggested that the local environment is just too unstable (and full of local stockholders who want real answers to the Geauga lake mess) CEO Dick Kinzel thought he would be ambushed if the meeting was held in Ohio.By the way, Cedar Point’s new theme is “Families Rule at Cedar Point.”

The other Ohio park, Kings Island, also has a new premise for 2008: “Our theme this year is history, tradition and nostalgia,” said Don Helbig, Director of Public Relations. “We’re getting back to being a home-grown park. However guests arrive, they’re going to find changes, all of them aimed at restoring the park’s history.” The park opened in 1972. Geauga Lake dates back to the 1880’s. Which has a richer history? Ironically, this was the similar message when Cedar Fair purchased the Six Flags property and changed the name back to Geauga Lake Park in March 2004. Right now no one seems to care about the history, tradition or nostalgia of a little old park called Geauga Lake. Richard Munch

*** Edited 4/24/2008 12:01:38 PM UTC by PREMiERdrum*** *** Edited 4/24/2008 12:14:13 PM UTC by PREMiERdrum***

Thursday, April 24, 2008 8:08 AM
Man, that is one huge paragraph.

It seems highly unlikely that CF would move that ride to CP. How would they market that? Undoubtedly, it would be a big expense, yet what superlatives could they use for it?

New for 2009! The Most-average sized, un-longest, not-something new ride on the planet! The world first OldieCoaster! *** Edited 4/24/2008 12:11:59 PM UTC by macevhicz***

Thursday, April 24, 2008 8:16 AM
Eh.. I pasted it in from another program, the paragraphs condensed together. I fixed it.

Reading the whole release again this morning, this does seem to be crazy-enough-to-be-true and too-hard-to-fake situations.

What would the motivation be in making this up?

All the numbers on the document (removed for security) went back to him.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 8:40 AM
Yeah, so 4% "press release", 96% whining.

Brandon | Facebook

Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:00 AM
While I like the buzz, here are some real issues to deal with:

Stockholder meeting to Cali? There is bigger issues with the new 49ers stadium. CF has wrangled with the NFL, and they need to formulate a better plan.

Shareholders upset in Ohio? Not sure how many actually would scream. Yes, some emotions and hard questions. If, and if, all those coasters get sold this summer, will the raised emotions subside?

The Big Dipper is longer and 'bigger' than the Blue Streak. Both out and backs, yes, but quite different. The Dipper was built to claim the 'longest coaster' in the 1920's.

It will not cost $5 million to move. It wil cost $5 million to 'remove, transport, re-erect, and re-train' if needed. If the Dipper does move to another state, it has a huge chance of getting new trains. Those NAD's are not maintianed like Conneaut's or Kennywood's.

The Blue Streak was built to give a solid permanent ride for the new owners of the Point. It was never a match for the Thriller.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:03 AM
My son has a book that I have read to him every night since he was 2. "Spilt Milk". Well, that is the situation with some of these folks who think they have a duty to somehow save Geauga Lake. It is spilt milk. It's over. Time to move on.

That said, I can appreciate the efforts to save some of the historical significance on the place. Heck, it was my home park for most of my youth and I worked there for five years.

I personally believe the Dipper is worth saving. If people are going to make the argument that the Breakers lobby/rotunda should be saved then there is no reason not to advocate saving this roller coaster.

I was thinking about this quite a bit last night. A Jeff-created rumor or not...I like the idea of a 'Boardwalk' area to replace the aquatic stadium and some of those other features that are blocking the lake front. And, why not anchor that area with the Dipper? A classic, restored wood coaster that has emotional ties to tens of thousands of people in northern Ohio. A ride that would be seen as "family friendly" in a park that has gone extreme for the past decade. I'd take it a step futher...bring the rocket ships along too and really turn it into a blast from the past section of the park.

I could see taking my kids and grandkids to Cedar Point and loading up in the Dipper while explaining to them that it was the first roller coaster I ever rode. There would cetainly be an emotional connection and a nostalgia factor there. And, isn't it the goal of buisness to connect with their customers emotionally so that they want to come back?

I know that move wouldn't appeal to a generation who has been introduced to MF, TTD and some other extreme rides. But, I suspect it would be a popular move to some of us old people...who have a disposable income.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:30 AM
Jeff's avatar That's not a press release, and it was irresponsible and wrong to describe it as such. It's a crybaby rant with zero knowledge about what Cedar Fair is doing, and asinine comments about the "distaste" or whatever only reinforces the fact that it's all crap. What a clueless ass.

Perhaps they're having a meeting in California because they move it around from year to year. The large institutional investors don't "live" in Ohio or California. What difference does it make?

Who is this guy?

The worst part is that it paints this picture of an adversarial situation between Cedar Fair, with nefarious intent, and some sad half-dozen preservationist types with no life who have exactly zero impact or influence on Cedar Fair. Maybe you've heard... the business wasn't profitable so they cut their losses. There's nothing deeper than that. No distaste for the park, no intent to destroy, no Kinzel sitting behind a huge desk with thunder and lightning flashing out of the window.

-1 to the "journalists" who actually went calling around looking for a story on this.

So before everyone gets in my grill about how I hate freedom (Geauga Lake) and I'm letting the terrorists (Cedar Fair) win, know that I'd love to see the ride get moved even though I don't care for it. But enough of the nonsense already. There is no conspiracy, only hurt feelings.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:35 AM
More historic and frankly, flat-out better coasters in bigger towns with more people and more 'memories' of them have gone to splinters, folks. It's true.

I didn't say I celebrate that fact.

Doesn't make it any less true.


NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:44 AM
That's true but I think there are some extenuating circumstances here. Does Cedar Fair have to care about the "feelings" of those from the Cleveland/Akron area who now are left with no local amusement park? No, absolutely not.

But, you can't ignore the fact that Cleveland and Akron are a significant part of Cedar Point's market. And, those areas (along with other market areas such as Detroit/southern Michigan) don't need any more reasons NOT to visit the park.

Again, I know the chances of this happening are next to nothing. But, I think a pretty good case could be made to consider doing it. I mean, if you are talking less than $5 million to relocate the thing it doesn't seem outrageous. Heck, I'm building a passive park with 3 picnic shelters and a fountain for $2 million right now and I'm not going to make a dime off of it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:48 AM
Jeff's avatar I work a couple of miles from Geauga Lake, with people who live primarily in Solon and Aurora. None of them ever went to GL in the first place. In fact, people in Northeast Ohio weren't going there in the first place or we wouldn't be having this discussion. So what negative impact does this really have on Cedar Point? Zero?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:51 AM

Jeff said:
That's not a press release, and it was irresponsible and wrong to describe it as such.

-1 to the "journalists" who actually went calling around looking for a story on this.

Let's see... it was a statement which was written as a formal release to the media... sent in the same form to at least 6 media outlets I am aware of: WKYC-TV, WOIO-TV, WEWS-TV, WJW-TV, the Ohio News Network, and WBNS-TV.\

Further, it was a statement made my a senior official (treasurer) for a large organization (ACE). It also was regarding, at least in part, specific development plans being put together by both ACE and the author's business.

Sure, it not in a traditional "Who, What, When, Where, Why" format, but that does not mean it isn't a press release.

And, as much as you don't want to believe it, there is a story here, either way.

1) Is Cedar Fair moving a historic amusement ride from the former Geauga Lake property, possibly saving it from the scrap heap?

2) Why would a senior official form a national group risk his credibility with both the media and coaster community by making these statements?

Yeah, the next time I get a release containing information which would be huge, not only in the coaster community, but in the state of Ohio, I'll keep it to myself.

*** Edited 4/24/2008 1:55:12 PM UTC by PREMiERdrum***

Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:52 AM
As I said elsewhere...I have had reasons to believe that Cedar Fair may not have had the best of intentions with Geauga Lake...which contradicts what I thought originally.

I think the people of NE Ohio were screwed by Premier/Six Flags and Cedar Fair. And, of course, the A/B pullout from Sea World didn't help either.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:23 AM
Jeff's avatar I can send my blog posts to TV stations too, but it doesn't make them press releases. This is barely an opinion piece. It has no facts. If you tried to pass this off as a press release in a Journalism 101 class, you'd fail. If you think otherwise, then I fear for the future of journalism as a profession.

If he was acting in an official capacity for ACE, then that organization is more screwed up than I thought, and has a pretty intense leadership failure too.

This adversarial crap is the reason that there is no meaningful plan to save the ride. I don't know what this Munch guy's agenda is, and frankly I think Sanderson has an agenda too. Since it isn't clearly spelled out, and you have this jerk name calling, nothing positive will happen.

The sad thing is that the people who are the loudest are least qualified to do anything constructive. If ACE or who ever really wanted this ride saved, they'd find someone who has the clout, the people skills and the business sense to make it happen.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:28 AM
It was not a press release. What was recently posted in this thread was copied from an email sent to a select group of individuals that was never intended to reach people outside of that group. The email contained- among other things- the personal opinions of an individual with a sincere and justified interest in the situation regarding Geauga Lake. It was no more a crybaby rant that what a lot of people do in their personal blogs, complaining about the cost of a gallon of gas or how rush hour traffic is a real bitch to deal with.

The truth is, there's a story here. It might not be the one that was just presented, but there is a story. Ignoring that- or telling others to ignore that- isn't going to make it go away.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:29 AM
OhioStater's avatar I think Richard Munch is on an eternal menstural cycle.

Let it go, man. Be happy Cedar Fair tried to save your little park from Six Flags in the first place.

The Big Dipper belongs in a museum.

How were the people of NE Ohio screwed by anybody? If the people of NE Ohio enjoyed Geagua Lake in the first place, more people would have gone, and this problem wouldn't exist in the first place.

Here in Columbus, there was a great little restaraunt called the Tropical Bistro that opened up a couple years ago. It was an off-shoot of a great place called Kahiki that was torn down. Talk about a restaraunt with some history! My wife and I frequented this place, but it was in a horrible location, and quite frankly, paled in comparison in terms of theme/feel/experience to the original.

It closed. Along with all the "artifacts" that were auctioned off (nostalgic pieces from the original place).

And why did it close? No one went! Did we love it? and about 55 other people.

I dont think this is hitting home with some people; GL was a ghost-town...yes, a small percentage of NE ohio frequented the park, and I feel for you guys, but in the times we went, we had ridden everything twice in 2.5 hours, and were quite bored.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:30 AM
While I understand why folks want that coaster to stay in place and continue to operate, I just don't see it happening, and the entire tone of that blog entry strikes me as extraordinarily unrealistic. It's written as though there is some chance that the park could continue to operate in some form or another on that site.

I have to believe that most potential buyers for that property have no interest---zero---in operating a roller coaster on it. Pretty much everyone who might have had an interest in doing so has already tried their hand at it, and none of them succeeded. Who's left?

Spilled milk, indeed. Like 'Playa, I'm not happy about it. I visited GL twice last season, my first visits, and thought it was a really nice little park, albeit a near-empty one. But, it's over already, and unless HFEC or someone else comes galloping in at the last minute, the dirt has already been thrown on the grave.

I'm perhaps far removed from the Cleveland media market, but I also don't see the wailing and gnashing of teeth that "unstable environment" might suggest.

Edited: to reflect blog-nature, rather than "press release".

Edited again, 'cause a few posts slipped in while I was writing:

The truth is, there's a story here. It might not be the one that was just presented, but there is a story. Ignoring that- or telling others to ignore that- isn't going to make it go away.

Sure, there's a story. It's interesting to wonder what might happen to the Dipper and other rides on the property---hopefully either CF will recycle them, or they will be purchased at auction, in which case they might live another day.

But, again barring some 11th hour white knight, I don't see any chance at all of any ride continuing to operate on that land, and that includes the Dipper. Beyond that, I think the story can be summed up thusly:

"Markets change, this location has failed, two operators (Busch, Six Flags) got out completely, and one more has given up on it as an amusement park. Maybe it works out as a water park." *** Edited 4/24/2008 2:40:20 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:48 AM
rollergator's avatar Let's just say (for the sake of argument) that CF *is* relocating Dipper to CP.

Wouldn't that be something to PRAISE them for, instead of berating them? Just seems to me that you should praise and criticize *as the situation warrants*. If it were to happen that anyone with the credibility and wherewithal wants to save Dipper, whether that be CF, SF, HFEC, or Sherrod Brown personally, then I'm all for it, and will thank them and sing their praises.

Then again, maybe the outrage over the GL closing was dying down too quickly?

Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:49 AM

Jeff said:
I can send my blog posts to TV stations too, but it doesn't make them press releases. This is barely an opinion piece. It has no facts. If you tried to pass this off as a press release in a Journalism 101 class, you'd fail. If you think otherwise, then I fear for the future of journalism as a profession.

No where did I present this information as a fact. No where did I say that the release was from Cedar Fair, or ACE for that matter.

I have taken several Journalism and Public Relations courses and have worked in Television for 3 years. I know what a press release typically looks like. I wrote hundreds throughout college.

I wish you could see the releases we get on a daily basis. This wasn't even the most poorly constructed one I saw yesterday. Does that mean that the tip should not be pursued?

I wish you could see the "News Tips" which are forwarded to us through our website. 90% of the time contain spelling and punctuation errors. Do we not pursue those tips?

Bottom line, this was a statement, a whiny and poorly written one at that, made to the media by a senior official with a large club. He identified himself is writing on behalf of ACE on both the coverpage and contact slug.

Let me say for the record that I DO NOT agree with the GL Conspiracy theories. I am not one of the "Kinzel killed GL on purpose!" negatards. I got the information, posted it accurately as I was given it, attributed it to the original source, and still you criticize me.

I can make fun of people on the interwebs to. Will that make me feel better about myself?

Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:52 AM
Jeff's avatar You know, you've got a point there I hadn't even considered. If any of it were true, then at least the ride would get a second life, and even that's not good enough for this guy? Time to let go indeed.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:53 AM
rollergator's avatar ^^I think the "denigration" of the press release (or whatever) was aimed at Munch, not you...or that's the way I read it. ;)

^ Happy to be of service... LOL! :)

*** Edited 4/24/2008 2:54:33 PM UTC by rollergator***


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