Conneaut Lake Park's Future a lot Brighter

Some people are morons, plain and simple. They don't want the park to sell the land but they don't want it to close, either. Can't have it both ways.

It's like those people that owned the campground by Waldameer. They didn't want the park to build a new coaster to survive, yet I bet they would have been the first crying in the local media if the park disappeared- after all, what else in the area was responsible for the majority of their business?

The answer? NOTHING.

That campground was probably more dependent upon Presque Isle and its beaches. This is the most visited state park in PA and it has no in-park camping.

Arthur Bahl

Could be, but Waldameer likely was a big part of their reason for being. It was still biting the hand that feeds, even if more than one hand was feeding.
Conneaut Lake Park provides plenty of tax dollars

By Jane Smith

03/24/07 —
It’s become well known that Conneaut Lake Park is delinquent in paying real estate taxes.

However, it does pay thousands of dollars in other taxes.

In 2006, the 115-year-old amusement park paid more than $150,000 — including amusement taxes to Summit Township; payroll taxes; and county, state and federal taxes.

The totals include $74,002.02 in Social Security taxes, $50,228.09 in state sales taxes, $5,256.20 in county hotel excise tax and $23,594.22 in township amusement taxes.

Park employees also paid taxes, as payroll deductions totaled more than $264,000 in local, state and federal income taxes from a total payroll of $967,338.78. Of that total, 1 percent ($9,673) was split between Summit Township and Conneaut School District.

With regard to real estate taxes, the park has paid none for 10 years while under the direction of a number of different operators — including boards of directors and court-appointed overseers — both past and present.

Because the park is under court control, it hasn’t been subject to a tax claim bureau sale for delinquent taxes.

However, previous court rulings mandate that the amusement taxes be paid, according to Cindy McCoy, township secretary. Summit has a 4 percent tax on all amusements in the township. In addition to CLP, other entities which paid taxes in 2006 included Conneaut Concessions (which leased the Beach Club last year) and two golf courses. Bars with video games must pay a $25 annual tax per game, McCoy said.

The township’s 2006 budget for amusement tax revenue was $25,000, McCoy said, meaning the park has paid the majority of that budgeted amount. She had no immediate access to the total amount of taxes that were collected, but said they aren’t segregated according to individual businesses. (The park’s figure was from CLP records.)

Although the park has paid the amusement taxes in recent years, the township is still owed the tax from previous park operators. McCoy estimated it was “about $100,000.”

Courthouse records show the lien is $118,481.51.

Those unpaid taxes date back to the days of former managers who leased the entire park and didn’t pay them — as required by the lease. Although the operators are no longer in business, the taxes owed are still listed as liens against the park.

The park also paid $5,256.20 to Crawford County for its 3 percent hotel tax, imposed on all hotels, motels or any business which rents rooms. That money then is sent to the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau for tourist promotion. The county keeps 1 percent of the collections for administrative purposes.

Although in past years the park leased Camperland and the Beach Club to private entities, those leases didn’t require the leasee to pay the real estate taxes. The park is still responsible for the real estate taxes on those properties.

The park’s real estate tax bill for 2006 totaled more than $34,000.

Total real estate tax owed by the park is more than $470,000.

Should a proposed sale of 3.3 acres be final, those unpaid taxes would be paid in full. The park has a signed sales agreement to sell that acreage, giving it enough money to pay the majority of the debt and open the park this summer. The court must approve that sale. A court hearing for the purpose is expected to be scheduled in the near future.

In addition, if the proposed sale goes through, the new owner would assume the taxes on that parcel and any improvements.

In addition to reducing the park’s tax bill, if the planned condominiums are built, it would add more than 30 parcels to the county’s tax rolls, meaning the township, school district and county would receive taxes from private owners — not Conneaut Lake Park.

I wish my property taxes worked like this.

Great Lakes Brewery Patron...


not to change the subject, but what is the Devil's Den? I know its made by Pretzel Amusements. Anyone want to tell me the ride layout and other facts?
Devils Den is a gravity powered darkride. The ride has two passenger cars that the ride operator sets in motion by pushing them. The cars proceed to a roller coaster type chain lift that rises about 8 or 10 feet. After making a looping turn, the car makes a down-and-up dip that is a few feet deep. It then enters the dark part of the ride which has a downhill zigzag pattern with various stunts along the way that are activated as the car reaches them. The ride exits the dark section at the bottom of the grade and continues to the unloading area.

The Devils Den is one of two such rides still on operation in parks. The other is in Camden Park in West Virginia.

Arthur Bahl

So it's like a small wild mouse? Or is there something else that disqualifies it from being listed as a coaster?

Jason Hammond's avatar
Some people do count it as a coaster. The defenition of what a coaster is has always been a big debate.

884 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

Wow, 4 percent local amusement tax, 3 percent county hotel tax. Looks like everybody has their hands out. And you wonder why a business has such a hard time staying in business, let alone putting money into the business.
I wanted to give an update on the Fright Zone...

As you all know, the ride was purchased with plans to reassemble it at Conneaut Lake Park. Due to some uncertainties in the opening on the park and lack on funds, the ride still remains in storage.

Myself and several other investors and avide park supporters are attempting to secure a final resting place for the ride at the park.

We are attempting to purchase the roughly 3.3 acres that is for sale to help reduce the park's debt. Reduction in the debt will place them in great shape for the future and also provide funds to open in 2007. With the changes I've been made aware of, 2007 should be a profitable year for the park.

The two gating items are the court hearing on the sale and the approval of the Summit Township ordiance. In 2-3 weeks we should have these items, I hope, behind us.

Conneaut Lake Park is truely a great traditional park perfect for families and individuals of all ages. I hope we are successful in our attempts to keep the memories growing.

Please take a few days this summer to enjoy and help support this great amusment park.

Greg Sutterlin *** Edited 3/27/2007 1:54:33 PM UTC by Conneaut Laker*** *** Edited 3/27/2007 4:30:24 PM UTC by Conneaut Laker***

Jason Hammond's avatar
The Freight Zone? That's where they recieve all their deliveries right? ;)
*** Edited 3/27/2007 1:30:55 PM UTC by Jason Hammond***

884 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

The Fright Zone is a darkride that was formerly at the now defunct Erieview Park. The cars and the stunts for this ride originally were at West View Park near Pittsburgh.

The stunts for Fright Zone were Bill Tracey creations similar to those in Waldameers Whacky Shack. The cars were made by Allen Hershell and were originally designed for a two-level ride such as the former West View Haunted House.

Arthur Bahl

Jason Hammond's avatar
AB, my post was a sarcastic one because fright was spelled freight. :)

884 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

Jason, I know it was but this just appeared to be a good time to mention something about Fright Zone.

Arthur Bahl

Nice to hear the ride may be a part of the park's future.

I know very well of the "coaster or no coaster" debate regarding Devil's Den. I'm not a credit whore and count anything just to increase my track record but I can't help but count Devil's Den as a coaster. It features a lift hill, a drop and gravity propels a vehicle down a path comprised of wood. Sounds like a wood coaster to me, even if the ultimate result is something very different from that of a typical wood coaster.

I'd love to classify it as a coaster, but it just doesn't pass my "duck" test.
rollergator's avatar
Devil's Den vs. Adventureland's Underground...neither one qualifies as a "typical" wooden coaster, IMO. But it doesn't mean they're not in the same general category...hybrid dark-ride/coasters.

Weird that I keep hearing that "Conneaut and Camden" are the only two around....I know I've been on other dark-rides that feature *gravity drops* as well...

Just stirring the kettle...since it's almost lunchtime... ;)

^^ You know someone was going to ask what the "duck test" is, so I'll be the one to inquire. ;)
Lord Gonchar's avatar
If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck... :)

Am I the only one who keeps thinking of the Brady Bunch singing, "We can make the world a whole lot brighter..." everytime I read the title of this thread?

It's driving me nuts.

It's just you, Gonch. And here I was, thinking you had somewhat good taste in music ;)

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