Landmark plaque dedicated at former site of Geauga Lake

Posted Sunday, September 17, 2017 9:52 PM | Contributed by BrettV

Aurora plans to mark the 10th anniversary of the closure of Geauga Lake by dedicating an Ohio landmark plaque on the southern shore of the lake, by state Route 43 next to the old Geauga Lake Ballroom.

Read more from The Akron Beacon Journal.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017 9:43 AM

How nice of Aurora. I don't see the purpose of this action other than a political stunt.

I agree Six Flags made their mistakes with this property, however Cedar Fair shot themselves in the foot when they closed this park so abruptly. According to Cedar Fair representatives this was unplanned. Though I plea to differ... Either way, the plaque is a nice memorable piece for the property, but truly thanks to Cedar Fair as of now that property is worthless unless the city or someone does something with it. I can think of countless options.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 10:15 AM

Shot themselves in the foot how? By closing a business that was losing money that they should not have bought in the first place?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:03 AM

Geauga Lake truthers are real close to 9/11 truthers and Stevie Wonder isn't blind truthers on the insanity scale.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:20 AM

RayP1970 said:

^ While Waldameer may have seen a slight uptick in attendance since GL closed, I'm not sure how many people in NE Ohio are even aware of the park. They "kind of" advertise in the area, but it's usually as part of a "Come Visit Erie" commercial or even a Presque Isle Downs Casino commercial. If there are dedicated Waldameer tv commercials, I have yet to see one on the east side of Cleveland.

And that being said, I honestly feel that if they really promoted their Free Admission, Free Parking, #7 wooden roller coaster, water park with wave pool and children's play area, and that it's all within a 90 minute drive of Cleveland and they might see their attendance go up even more. But as always, I don't work in the amusement industry, so what do I know? ;)

They don't advertise in Pittsburgh either. Can't say as I've ever seen a tv commercial for Waldameer. They must be relying on Erie advertisement and word of mouth to bring people in. When asked what our favorite coasters are, Ravine Flyer is always mentioned and people are like, "oh, where's that?" and we answer at Waldameer and we get "oh, where's that?" We answer Erie and get "really?" Seriously, Erie is only 2 hours away.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:32 AM

JECmodels said:

I agree Six Flags made their mistakes with this property, however Cedar Fair shot themselves in the foot when they closed this park so abruptly. ...I can think of countless options.

Cedar Fair made its best effort to turn around a failing business. Can you name a few of those countless options?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 4:30 PM

Tekwardo said:

I'd say the joke is on the Kinzel regime. The current version of the company would likely have handled things differently.

I completely agree.

slithernoggin said:
I don't know. I don't think that Geauga's niche in the market -- catered picnics and locals -- would be affected much by Millennials. And moving attractions to other parks in the chain rather than building new attractions makes sense when the company was faced with a park that wasn't successful.

No. Prior to Six Flags, Geauga was a wonderful little park that catered successfully to its audience.

My comment was not to blame millennials. It was the exact opposite. They're very much into theme parks and attractions, which are experiences. Go to Disney's California Adventure and you'll find they're packing the park, walking around drinking their craft beers, and enjoying the experience.

I know exactly what Geauga Lake was before the Six Flags branding debacle. It was successful, local park as you said. I doubt anything would be different today had Six Flags not messed it up. The only thing different is that their would be a new generation exploring the park and making memories there.

My point was Cedar Fair should of sucked it up, taken the loss, and sold the operating park to another operator at the appropriate price based on the attendance. They could've even stripped it of some of the assets before selling it (move some coasters). Considering the 750,000 attendance, the operating business was worth well more than $12 million they'll get now from the raw land. Clearly Kinzel handled this blunder poorly, but especially after they decided it was a bad investment.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 5:05 PM

Disney California's Adventure and Geagua Lake are two very different things. One is a re-designed park adjacent to one of the most popular parks in the country, and the other was a small park in a small town.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:46 PM

You entirely missed my point and I can't understand why unless you're just trying to be argumentative. I'm not trying to directly compare it to California Adventure. It's simply the property would be worth more with the operating business. Young consumers are spending on experiences, not possessions. Property values for commercial retail use is tanking. Do you get it now?

Last edited by egieszl, Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:46 PM
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:10 PM

The property is only worth what someone else is willing to pay. If Cedar Fair did not have a buyer then that property is worth exactly $0. Maybe they could have sold it, maybe they looked into it, maybe there were no buyers interested.

If not for six flags dumping nearly 200 million into a park that had a small attendance base and operating season it might still be around. Six Flags saw a nice huge jump in attendance the year they thought it would be smart to install 4 coasters and a bunch of flats. Then what happened? Attendance dropped year after year.

Maintaining a park with wildlife that cannot be open year round is difficult, it is expensive, it isn't a wise investment, but Six Flags thought it was in 2001. The result? Reduced attendance.

Now in 2004 Six Flags said we better sell this mess, and they did, probably to someone who shouldn't have purchased. But if Cedar Fair didn't buy it it may have simply closed back then.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:12 PM

I get that a park adjacent to one of of the most popular parks in the country and a small park in a small town are two different things. Cedar Fair was unable to sell the property with an operating business on the property.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:28 PM

Cleveland is a "small town???"

BTW, is Sandusky a metropolis?

Do you have some proof that CF tried to sell it as a going concern? Word of them "trying" to sell VF & WOF leaked out quickly, but I don't remember word that CF tried to sell GL as a going concern

Last edited by Captain Hawkeye, Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:30 PM
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 8:13 PM

The plaque should have a picture of an American flag on the moon for the "fake" moon landings, Elvis in a 7/11 hat and a lifeless horse being whipped.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 8:18 PM

Captain Hawkeye said:

Cleveland is a "small town???"

It was actually 30-some-odd miles outside of Cleveland.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 9:12 PM

Captain Hawkeye said:
Cleveland is a "small town???"

No. Aurora, on the other hand, is.

BTW, is Sandusky a metropolis?

No. Neither is Hershey. Doesn't stop those towns from being host to destination parks.

Do you have some proof that CF tried to sell it as a going concern? Word of them "trying" to sell VF & WOF leaked out quickly, but I don't remember word that CF tried to sell GL as a going concern

Do I have "proof"? No. Does common sense tell me that a company would try to sell an asset in whole before stripping what it could before trying to sell off the property? Yes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 9:22 PM

I can't say for sure, but I'm reasonably certain there was significant exploration to sell. Assuming for the moment that's true, how many companies are really interested in owning amusement parks? Whatever that number is, how many would want to buy a failing park?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 9:28 PM

Developers are hot to trot these days for the housing market. I can't imagine that beautiful lake front property isn't going to nice condos and McMansions.
Unless, and I'm not from there, would there be a market for upscale housing in Aurora at all?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 9:29 PM

What about the rest of the land behind the lakefront?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 9:38 PM

More houses? We have riverfront houses here in Columbus and the neighborhood not only includes those directly facing but two and three streets away. And none are cheap.
I also think of mixed use, with housing, retail, and dining all mixed together. That works well here and in other cities as well. So that parking lot space might be put to good use...

Really, I don't care and I got nothing in it. I just can imagine why what seems like prime property is sitting there with no takers. And that's with no real info about how much anybody's asking, what it's worth, or what the market is.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 10:49 PM

Columbus and northeast Ohio real estate markets are very different. 30 miles outside downtown Columbus is still largely farm land. Aurora is 30 miles from downtown Cleveland. And the Geauga Lake property from what I remember does not have great highway access. There are areas which have better access which are as close or closer to downtown Cleveland. There really is no reason why Cedar Fair would hold on to the property if there was a mixed use/residential project that wanted the land.

Last edited by GoBucks89, Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:08 PM
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:07 PM

The immediate area around GL doesn't seem particularly desirable, with houses selling for $60/sq. ft. If you go back to Solon or into Aurora proper, there are some hot subdivisions. As I recall, NEO is inconsistent like that, and it doesn't have the regional hotness of Columbus. As I've learned living in Orange County, new construction and resale can be different beasts, and there's a balance in demand, inventory and growth that drives development.

Ohio's municipal structure isn't conducive to any big picture planning, because the incorporated cities, fragmented townships, counties and other special districts are all in it for themselves. They all want careful growth and great schools, but don't have the tax revenue to hire people who know how to make that happen. It was a shock to the system when I moved down here into a big unincorporated area with a massive master plan that includes careful allocation of mixed housing types at high density, retail, light industrial, hospitals, park land and school sites.

Back on topic, I don't know that GL is particularly valuable, but if it was as an amusement park, I think it still would be one.


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