Sutterlin, officials reach sales agreement
By Jane Smith
"CONNEAUT LAKE — An agreement has been reached to sell 3.3 acres of land at Conneaut Lake Park to Greg Sutterlin of Conneaut Lake for $1.7 million.
However, it’s is contingent upon several factors:
n Summit Township supervisors must amend a zoning ordinance to allow 10 units of condominiums be erected on the site, which includes the former Flynn House property and adjacent property.
n Court approval and that no appeals are filed.
n CLP officials must undertake all necessary steps to open the park for the 2007 season. If Sutterlin determines that isn’t happening, he can declare the agreement null and void.
n The gate-guard booth on Reed Avenue at the entrance to the park must be removed.
The agreement allows Sutterlin to construct three or more separate condominium buildings within the complex. Two will be located parallel to Conneaut Lake and the third will be positioned on the west side of Lake Street.
It prohibits the park from selling any other lakefront or lakeview land within the park for five years following completion of the sale.
It also prohibits the park from creating or constructing its own residential development on its lakefront or lakeview property.
However, that doesn’t apply to or affect any use or potential use, renovations, remodeling or occupancy of Hotel Conneaut to perpetuate its use as a hotel and restaurant, but not as a condominium or other residential development.
The agreement also includes the sale of the docks around the property as of Oct. 31, 2007. All dock fees and rental income for this year should be split between the park and Sutterlin with any adjustments after the closing.
The contract calls for a non-refundable downpayment of $5,000 and the remainder to be paid in cash upon completion of the sale.
The next step now is to petition Crawford County Court of Common Pleas for a hearing to approve the sale.
LeRoy Stearns, court-appointed overseer, has said he will use a portion of the sale proceeds to open the park this season.
He plans to use a majority of the money to pay off the estimated $2.3 million or more debt, including all real estate taxes on all properties owned by the park as well as bank loans."
Now It's just seeing if the park grts the rides up on time, and FINALLY, updating their website.
Blue Streak is of course the main reason for wanting to save the park but there is also that old time atmosphere that is shared with certain other parks such as Lakeside. It must be remembered, too that many of the older rides that are becoming rare are most likely to be found at parks of this type. CLP has one of the two remaining Tumble Bugs in the U. S. and one of the two remaining Pretzel gravity darkrides.
There used to be so many parrks of this type but most of them are now gone. Arnolds Park is a similar park that went through a very similar set of misadventures but was finally saved. Hopefully CLP will survive as well and continue to provide a type of amusement park experience that is not found at the bigger parks.
I'm glad it might have another chance, hopefully this will be the one that brings them out of that "we might not open next year" cycle and into something much more stable. *** Edited 3/19/2007 1:40:31 AM UTC by P18***
A Scrambler might be the kind of ride P18 is talking about. They used to have an indoor one but the building collapsed.
I was thinking of the scrambler, since it's a shame they lost the indoor one. There are also plenty of used flats at Zamperla or Moser and such that could add alot to the park, in the future. I mentioned BB since they seemed to have grown alot using portable flat rides, enough to build a highly rated woody.
Ray P. (fan of Conneaut and small parks, but realizes he has to be realistic these days)
How is this any different from when Six Flags sold the Astroworld land? Both Six Flags and Conneaut are in debt, and if they continue to operate in debt, they will eventually close forever. People defended Six Flags when they made their decision to sell one park for the greater good- why is it a bad idea how that Conneaut is selling land for their greater good? In my eyes, this is a brilliant idea. The sale of the land is going to enable the park to get out of debt and operate with a clean slate, meaning that any profit the park realizes from operations in 2007 won't have to be put towards paying for mistakes made by past ownership and management.
You're a fan of Conneaut, Ray? Wow. I'd hate to see what you'd have to say about a park you DON'T like.
I would've thought they'd get more for than 1.7 million. don't get me wrong, I think it will help a great deal. I'm certain the people/companies they pay with that money will be happy.
It was an "Idiotic" thing to say? No... I'd say it was a rational thing to say. I've supported Conneaut Lake each year by visiting at least once. Each time I go, I am greeted by about 35-40 cars in the main parking lot. I rarely, if ever, have to wait in line for a ride. I stroll down the midways and see tree roots pushing up the asphalt. I keep wondering how much longer this place is going to last. It's sort of depressing walking around a park with very few people in it. And as we all know, you can't make a profit if the people aren't coming out to visit. To quote another wise man, "sometimes we have to stop thinking like enthusiasts". I bitched and moaned that Geauga Lake was removing X-Flight and Steel Venom and the main response I got was "It's a business decision, so shut up and get over it." I figured I should wake up and smell the coffee, so I am looking at things from a business perspective now.
Continuing on with your quotes, you're right, it IS pretty easy to skip over the gloom and doom articles. But is there a reason why you lumped me in with the SF/CF fanboys? Is there a reason why you just assumed that I would prefer to read about SF or CF? Voyage is my #1 roller coaster and that's at a smaller park. Knoebels and Indiana Beach are my two favorite amusement parks and they are both smaller parks. I find it amusing that you think I'd rather read about CF/SF because I made a negative observation about Conneaut. My statement was I think they should just close Conneaut already because every year it seems the park isn't going to open. And then somehow, something "miraculous" happens and we get one more year out of the venerable park. How many more "miracles" does this park have?
The wise man I originally quoted was either Lord Gonchar or Mamoosh. I know Gonch puts things into perspective... and that's simply what I was taking a stab at here.
So in closing, yes, I am a fan of Conneaut. I am a fan of amusement parks in general and have been for 35 years. If they can make a go of things with this newly-acquired cash, then more power to them. Market the place a little, get the picnic business back... and maybe with word of mouth, CLP will be a success again. But when you look at things from the ever-popular "business perspective", it hasn't looked good for Conneaut Lake for quite some time and I don't know if this is going to be the "heal-all" shot in the arm the park so sorely needs. It takes more than just some cash to be successful. Just ask Six Flags Worlds of Adventure...
Assuming the sale does go through, the park's debt laod will go down to the point where it could be *manageable*....the debt has been a real problem, because the interest only compunds every year. This would go a LONG way toward making the parking economically viable. Still won't be any huge profit-making enterprise, but not all businesses are geared that way (Conneaut among them). For the "labor of love crowd", sufficient is a more operative word than profitable....
There is a lot of amusement industry business talk on this site. At first I loathed it but now I'm okay with it- if someone chooses to express their enthusiasm by talking about the business side of things, I have no problem with that and have learned to see things from their point-of-view and engage in conversations with them. That said, I'm not going to let someone insinuate that I should "shut up and get over it". At the core of my enthusiasm is someone who loves old traditional parks with wood roller coasters and I'm not going to let someone else convince me that my enthusiasm is out-of-touch with reality or just plain unwarranted.
Let me clarify that I wasn't calling you an idiot, but I do feel that your statement was a pretty idiotic thing to come from someone that claims to be a Conneaut fan. Yes, it is true that we go through this same thing year after year, but instead of seeing it as a sign that the park is unsuccessful and is better off closing, maybe you should look at these "miracles" as signs that the park's time has not yet come and the passion of those that work to keep it open is inspiring? I watched Apollo 13 last night (first time in a long time)... the people that helped get those three men back to Earth faced problem after problem after problem. At times they probably thought that they should just give up because of so much working against them, but I'm sure the three astronauts admired their perseverence. Shouldn't Conneaut's perseverence be praised, the same way a dying man's will to fight be prased?
Conneaut has been weighed down by debt for years. The park is going to sell a few acres of land and suddenly find a way to erase all the debt, or at least a large part of it. Now they can operate and the money they make can be put back into the park. How is that NOT good news? Maybe this is something that will prevent Conneaut from bad news in future?
Just seems to me that if you are a Conneaut fan, this would be music to your ears. That's all.
In fact, just last weekend, I toured a historic Frank Lloyd Wright house that was recently restored at a cost of 5.8 million! A good business decision would have been to tear it down and build a new McMansion on the site. It made no financial sense for a organization to form to buy the property, raise funds to restore it, and operate it as an attraction using mostly volunteer labor.
Or does it? It got me to visit an area I probably wouldnt have bothered with otherwise and pumped a few bucks into the local economy by buying gas and food.
Conneaut is not operated as a for-profit company, as far as I know. This land sale will go a long ways towards ridding them of past problems inherited by previous inept management.
This article is time for optimism rather than more "doom and gloom."
Hehe, Conneaut and SF aren't in *that* different a set of circumstances, financially....just need to keep adding or subtracting three zeroes from all the dollar amounts... ;)
How can anyone see this as bad news? Business-minded or not, if you think this is lousy stuff, you're clearly not a park enthusiast.
The park loses money every year. Even if they managed to pay off every cent of their debt with this land sale, they'll be back into the red after this operating season. The bottom line is that throwing money at the park is just delaying the inevitable. The park needs to find a way to increase attendance and make money, and that requires money that they'll never have.
What is so hard to understand about that? You are in denial. Face it, Conneaut is in the middle of nowhere, it's never going to be the resort it used to be, and it's not going to stay open forever.
And who's throwing money at the park? It wants to sell off land it owns to get itself into better shape. The only thing it can be accused of doing is throwing money at itself and I don't see anything wrong with that. It's their land, their money... they can do whatever the damn well please with it, as far as any of us are concerned.
I'm not in denial, I am a park enthusiast that doesn't want to see a park close, and now that there is some potential good news about the place, I'm starting to get a little optimistic. It's pretty astonishing how unpopular it is to be an enthusiast on this site... it's as if there's nothing to say unless it's about theme parks finding new ways to make more money. Why is it so popular to be down on small, struggling parks? Is it because some well-respected people around here are of the mindset that parks of that nature have no place in the current business climate? If so, it's sad to see such a bunch of empty-minded followers.
Assuming that thedebt will be cut 75%, that leaves considerably more breathing room. Certainly there's no B&M or Intamin coasters going in, but given their situation, they might be able to start *saving up* for a splashy new flat or something...
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