Help Conneaut open this year.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 3:37 PM
I still think you guys put too much thought into it. To me it's really as simple as 1,2,3:

1. There was never enough of a local market to truly support the park. It was the tourists - even if it was just regional weekenders.

2. They're in the middle of a pretty low populated area and all of the places around them that they could draw from have similar offerings that don't require the drive.

3. The tourists don't show up like they used....if at all.

Location, Location, Location. :)

Or in a much simpler nutshell:

They built their business based on a tourism industry that no longer exists and hasn't for about 12 or 15 years...right about when they got into trouble the first time.

*** Edited 5/1/2007 7:38:20 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 3:43 PM
Too much thought into something? Like putting too much thought into the idea that "free parking" isn't really free?

Sorry, but I couldn't resist ;)

I'm not sure things are that simple because I'm not all that familiar with the area. I have no idea what percentage of the park's business came from tourists, and at what point the tourists started to disappear. If I got my hands on that kind of imformation, I might be in a better position to figure out what exactly happened. Right now, all I know is that poor management is to blame for some of the park's problems, which is why I keep pounding the "eliminate debt" and "get better management" drums. They're the only drums I know how to play!

So the park failed at some point... I don't think that's an automatic death sentence. History is littered with thousands upon thousands of viable businesses that were done in by poor management, so I continue to maintain that Conneaut is a park that might not be a victim of its environment but rather a park that's a victim of the people that were running it.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 3:49 PM
Seems to me that the lake (largest natural lake in PA, that must be worth something alone) is very busy, almost to the point of being overcrowded with the watersport crowd. Locals or tourists, I don't know. But there are people there.

And Camperland is always pretty packed with RVs.

It's not like there is this giant abandoned lake with a couple of "Deliverance"-like cabins tucked away in the woods.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 4:00 PM

Right now, all I know is that poor management is to blame for some of the park's problems...

To a degree. But I'd clarify that as poor management choices in the face of a dying market. Regardless of past decisions, I just can't get past the idea that's there's not enough of a market for the park to survive in any meaningful capacity. All the poor choices of the past would have done is speed up what I see as the inevitable.


It's not like there is this giant abandoned lake with a couple of "Deliverance"-like cabins tucked away in the woods.

No, but it's not what it used to be and not enough.

Dumb analogy time. :)

I complain about not having money to pay my bills. You open my wallet and find $500 and tell me it looks like I have money. I show you my $800 worth of bills - yes, I have money, but not what I need.

Same idea. People still visit the area and the park but not enough. Barring some miraculous complete revitalization of the area as a place for regional residents to spend vacation time and weekends - this can only end one way.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007 4:26 PM

millrace said:

It's not like there is this giant abandoned lake with a couple of "Deliverance"-like cabins tucked away in the woods.


I was thinking that same thing when I last visited the Chippewa Lake area.

Camperland does okay. If i had an RV, I'd consider parking it there for a season. I find that whole area peaceful.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007 4:37 PM
My biggest concern about CLP if it stays open in the short term is competition from Waldameer after they complete Ravine Flyer 2. CLP has one thing over Waldameer at present and that is the Blue Streak. Waldameer's only wooden coaster is a junior model. That changes next year and it's possible that many will bypass CLP to go to the Erie park. This addition will also keep many of the locals in Erie home unless that are looking for a bigger park such as CP, KW, DLk, or GL.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007 5:26 PM
4. The park is a dump.

It's an effect of all the other happenings but it isn't getting people back.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007 5:41 PM
Then again, "Fast Eddie" Rendell managed to come up $190 million for Mario Lemieux when he threatened to stomp his feet and move his team out of Pittsburgh. This on top of the four stadia Pennsylvania taxpayers have already paid for in Philly and the Burgh. But that's called "economic development."

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007 6:08 PM
Conneaut HAS potential to survive the long haul. In speaking with a Staff Member there, I can tell you they are pumped and really wanting to keep the place going! I had a few suggestions and/or comments to pass along:

It needs an image makeover. This starts by stopping the emphasis on the place being "old" and "historic". Although that is part of the charm of CLP, people won't raise an eyebrow if they think everything there is old, rusty (not rustic), dilapidated, etc. Forget the "Destination: Historic Amusement Park" aspect and get people excited to go! Great prices, people and entertainment!

Let's compare CLP to Indiana Beach (IB), which can be a great model to follow.

IB does have the significant advantage of pulling from Chicago & Indy, but CLP has Cleveland, Youngstown, Pittsburg, Erie and some other decent cities. Here are other comparisons:
Both are "off the beaten path".
Both have similar Local population bases.
Both are water-based resort areas.
Both have historic charm and entertainment.
Both have great rates for amusements.

CLP needs to better market itself NOT as a destination amusement park, but a resort. It has the park, a hotel, a campground, restaurants, entertainment, lake and more.

Kennywood...not a resort.
Waldameer...not a resort (for most part).

CLP has a niche to fill, but it must continue cleaning up its image. Raze a few buildings, spruce up the bathrooms, add to the water park, and condense the midway. Being open 7 days can do wonders as well. Open in the evenings (M-Th) to save a few bucks, but open everyday.

Don't give up hope, Gang! If you've ever been to IB, you'll know what I'm talking about and see the potential. No they won't pull 750,000 or a million Guests, but imagine what a simple extra 100,000 would do for this park. Even an extra 50,000 adds greatly to the bottom line.

Just my one-and-a-half cents. Sorry it's a bit long! Ken *** Edited 5/2/2007 10:50:07 PM UTC by CastleKing***

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Thursday, May 3, 2007 6:10 AM
IB, of course has more first rate rides including several wooden coasters and that Den of Lost Thieves Sally darkride. This park and Mt. Olympus in the Dells are the best alternatives for Chicagoans that don't like Six Flags' way of doing things.

On the contrary, with KW, CP, GL and DLk around plus a number of other smaller parks, many in Buffalo, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh just don't see any reason to go to CLP that often any more.

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Thursday, May 3, 2007 3:43 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
Then again, "Fast Eddie" Rendell managed to come up $190 million for Mario Lemieux when he threatened to stomp his feet and move his team out of Pittsburgh. This on top of the four stadia Pennsylvania taxpayers have already paid for in Philly and the Burgh. But that's called "economic development."

And I bet people were okay with that. Taxpayers seem to have no problem footing the bills for sports stadiums and arenas but they bitch and moan when an amusement park needs a fraction of what it costs to build those things. I know sports are more popular than amusement parks but I don't think this sounds very balanced at all.

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Thursday, May 3, 2007 3:50 PM
All I will say to the contrary "on the contrary" is:

Some people want one-day destinations. Others want multi-day. CLP will probably never be a Disney or Cedar resort area, but it CAN achieve local recreational resort status. AS was said, people want alternatives to those Big Parks and Big Dollars. This can be a solution!

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Thursday, May 3, 2007 4:01 PM
Call it the solution that's waiting for some people to realize that they're looking for a solution ;)
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Friday, May 4, 2007 12:48 AM
Love it! Good answer :} (With bow!)

Hey, Gang! All I can say is we are small percentage of the general public. We can be the influence on those who don't share the same enthusaistic views as we have about this industry.

As much as a park might not appeal to us or frustrate us, the least we can do is show our support and HOPE that the little guys can pull one out. Rah-rah!

Let's see what happens. I feel CLP's Staff's enthusiasm and passion for their park. They are really only a corner away from success! LITERALLY!

Happy Travelin', y'all!

Ken *** Edited 5/4/2007 4:55:42 AM UTC by CastleKing***

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Friday, May 4, 2007 1:04 AM
Rob, RatherGoodBear, you two need to step back and get a grasp of the big picture.

The Pens are HUGE for the city of Pittsburgh and state of Pennsylvania. They sold out most of their games last season. If the Pens left, then the city and state would be losing millions and millions of dollars from taxes and other fees coming from merchandise, television, and ticket sales. I guarantee you that it will not take too long for the state to get back its investment for keeping the Pens in town. (In addition, a more modern arena means more productions could perform, leading to even more money.)

Compare this to Conneaut. Rob, you can bitch and bitch about politicians screwing over the park all you want, but you seem to have trouble grasping the single biggest problem with the park: it cannot sustain itself! It's not like the park has a positive revenue stream and is in a property dispute; the main issue is that not enough people to go the park every year to make it worthwhile. Why should the state pump money into a park that has been nothing but a drain on the economy? There are no tangible benefits for the local or state governments to keep pumping money into something that's essentially a money pit. When will you realize this, Rob? It's unfortunate that the park is going to close, but that's what happens when a business doesn't get enough, uh, business.

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Friday, May 4, 2007 2:03 AM
Calm the hell down. You act as though I have been complaining non-stop about politicians screwing over the park for years and years, when in reality my last post in this thread was the first time I brought politicians into the conversation... and even then, I wasn't exactly blaming them for anything regarding Conneaut, I was merely questioning why politicians in general feel it is okay to spend tax dollars on stadiums for privately-owned sports teams.

I'm a big fan of most major sports, so I tend to like it when a team I stand behind happens to get a new stadium. I'm a NY Giants fan and I think that Giants Stadium is a hole, therefore I'm happy that Giants Stadium will be replaced by something new for the 2010 season. But I'm even happier that the Giants and the Jets (who will both share the stadium) and the NFL will be picking up the tab for the new facility and not taxpayers like myself. People whine and complain when an amusement park like Conneaut asks for a little help from the government, yet they think it's perfectly okay for the owners of a sports team to swindle the government out of hundreds of millions of dollars for a new stadium? Obviously you're someone living in your parents' basement and not paying taxes, otherwise I'm sure you'd feel a little differently.

Let's look at things this way:

A sports team employs hundreds of people. An amusement park employs hundreds of people.

A stadium creates traffic to support local businesses. An amusement park creates traffic to support local businesses.

A stadium sells items that are taxable, therefore creating revenue for the local government. An amusement park sells items that are taxable, therefore creating revenue for the local government.

What's the difference, genius?

So Pittsburgh is going to spend at least $300 million to replace Mellon Arena with something new so the Penguins don't move to Kansas City? Do you honestly think that any new arena is going to pay for itself in a few years? If that was the case, Mellon Arena would have been replaced a decade ago and the team wouldn't be at a point where they're thinking of skipping town... it never would have come to this in the first place. Going back to Giants Stadium, it was built in 1976 and even with TWO NFL teams selling the place out 16 weeks a year since 1984, the original loan taken out to build the place still has not been paid off. Do you really think that a new arena in Pittsburgh is going to pay for itself before any of us die? If so, you've got a lot to learn.

Again, there is no difference. Whether you're building the local sports team a new arena for $300 million or donating $3 million to Conneaut to allow them to pay down their debt, you're talking aboyt the government using tax dollars to help a privately-owned business. What's the difference between the two?

*** Edited 5/4/2007 6:05:05 AM UTC by Rob Ascough***

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Friday, May 4, 2007 2:39 AM
What's the difference between the two?

I know! I know! The arena doesn't have a wooden coaster.

What do I win? ;)

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Friday, May 4, 2007 7:07 AM
Sorry, the answer we were looking for was "one love" by Bob Marley... sorry... close though...
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Friday, May 4, 2007 8:27 AM

Rob Ascough said:you're talking aboyt the government using tax dollars to help a privately-owned business. What's the difference between the two?

Conneaut is not a privately owned business. Exactly what it is is murky but it was donated to the community and set up as a non-profit charitable community trust.

I also don't think it is really a money pit for tax dollars. Aside from the public money spent on the judge's time for overseeing things, I'm not aware of any public funds of any significance flowing into the park.

If it is decided that amusement rides are not viable, the place will surely become some sort of tax-payer funded public park and beach. If I read my stories right, part of the opposition to the land sale is that the property is restricted to public use and access. the locals are pretty adament about retaining access to the lake. Nearly every inch of shoreline outside Conneaut Lake Park is privately held.

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Friday, May 4, 2007 9:42 AM

Rob Ascough said:
Let's look at things this way:

A sports team employs hundreds of people. An amusement park employs hundreds of people.

A stadium creates traffic to support local businesses. An amusement park creates traffic to support local businesses.

A stadium sells items that are taxable, therefore creating revenue for the local government. An amusement park sells items that are taxable, therefore creating revenue for the local government.

What's the difference, genius?


The difference is that the arena in Pittsburgh will generate millions of dollars for the local economy, directly from ticket sales, concessions, etc. As well as indirectly from parking, local bars, restaurants and so on.



Rob Ascough said:
So Pittsburgh is going to spend at least $300 million to replace Mellon Arena with something new so the Penguins don't move to Kansas City? Do you honestly think that any new arena is going to pay for itself in a few years? If that was the case, Mellon Arena would have been replaced a decade ago and the team wouldn't be at a point where they're thinking of skipping town.

Of course the arena won't be paid off for many, many years. That's not the point. The point is what it would have done to the local economy if the team had left. Now the city will have the Pens, and a 1st class facility to draw other entertainment acts year round. Lemieux never "stomped his feet", he used the only leverage he had after being promised by the politicians that a new area would be built when he purchased the team out of bankruptcy.

As for the money, Pittsburgh and Allegheny county are not paying for it, it is coming from the slot taxes, the Penguins themselves, and Don Barden, the winner of the Pittsburgh casino license.

I'm not saying that CLP shouldn't benefit from the slots revenue the state collects. That would be fantastic if that could be used to help save the park. I'm just saying that the situation is totally different from what occurred in Pittsburgh.

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