Police called to Conneaut Lake rally, nothing actually happens

Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2021 9:22 AM | Contributed by BrettV

A rally by supporters of the Blue Streak roller coaster at Conneaut Lake Park on Saturday resulted in Pennsylvania State Police being called, though no arrests were made.

Read more from The Meadville Tribune.

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Monday, September 13, 2021 2:32 PM

One of the things I do at work is act as the staff liaison from the library to our nonprofit Friends of the Library group that is run entirely by volunteers.

Back in the 1970s there was an opportunity to contribute to a lifetime book endowment fund, where folks could set it up where money from their estate would come to the Friends of the Library group at a set amount of dollars a year for "x" number of years, or, their lump sum would go in an account that would have money taken out each year to purchase "x" number of books from the book endowment fund.

Look ahead to 2021, and it makes significantly more sense for a majority of those endowment funds to go toward things like technology, programming (both in person and virtual), and other things that aren't physical books. The language is written in a way where the use of money can be changed, within reason, to best serve the library system.

We can legally buy things like 3D printers from money that was earmarked for encyclopedia sets 40-50 years ago. Surely someone that donated $10 via PayPal to "save the Blue Streak" a decade ago can chalk up rides they took on the thing from 2011-2019 as a win and move on. But then again, that's what makes this community great.

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Monday, September 13, 2021 7:01 PM
sws's avatar

Everybody knows that Pepsi bought Conneaut Lake park just to shut it down!!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 10:02 AM

Serious question: Why is Conneaut not a viable location? I mean not as the park currently stands, that’s obvious, rhetorical. But imagine if it cared for and developed up 20 years ago… It’s a resort area, it has waterfront (It's not the ocean, but neither is Lake Erie...) It has a historic hotel that is way underutilized and it a 15 minute/10 mile drive off a major interstate.

It could at best have been a Holiday World type property, worst a Slyvan Beach.

Are those public streets that cut thru and it is a bunch of lots? Making the gating of the current footprint impossible. (I’m not looking it up).

It’s too bad, a new smaller and gated park couldn’t be designed around the Blue Streak (and restored Carousel). South of Park Avenue, north of Woodland, east of Brown. Leaving the remainder of the parcel(s?) to be re-developed for an improved resort, housing, whatever. (Anyone seen what was done at the Lake House in Canandaigua , NY?). I don’t think the developers crazy.

Last edited by Kstr 737, Tuesday, September 14, 2021 10:11 AM
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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 10:21 AM
Jeff's avatar

In the Buffalo market, you've got Darien Lake, in the Cleveland market, you've got Cedar Point. In the "neighborhood," you've got Waldameer, which actually has a bunch of stuff to do and some pretty good rides. At minimum you would have to offer something competitive to that.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 12:36 PM

Jeff- Darien Lake ain’t nothing to brag about…

Kstr 737- Whats up with the Lake House?


But then again, what do I know?

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 1:04 PM
Jeff's avatar

I went to Darien Lake three times in 1999 from Cleveland just to ride Superman. Bragging about it isn't the point, it's about what is available relative to Buffalo.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 2:58 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

Don't forget about Kennywood which is very close.

But yes, depending on whatever area you'd be coming a reasonable daytrip distance from there are better options. Especially someone who lives in PA, perhaps the most "park dense" state in the country.

CL is a dump. No amount of refurbishment can save it as it exists in its current state. You'd be looking at a clean slate redo, which would probably have to include replacing the Blue Streak anyways.

As an amusement park, you'd have to make it competitive to at the very least KW and Wald. As a destination, you'd have to make it competitive to Hocking Hills, Finger Lakes and the Poconos.

Good luck.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 4:34 PM
kpjb's avatar

It wouldn't have to compete with Kennywood or Waldameer.

Places like Fun Fore All do just fine, and are much closer. There are lots of summer homes and camps up there, and it's right off of a major interstate. All they needed to be was a few rides, mini golf, a couple water slides. Basically an outdoor FEC.

Now, what it would take to get that place in to shape is another question altogether. I was there once, probably 20 years ago, and it wasn't doing that well even back then.


Hi

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 8:38 PM

I think that is basically right - trying to compete with Kennywood or even Waldameer on their own terms would be about as smart as trying to build Geauga Lake into a Cedar Point-like behemoth (although requiring somewhat less capital). Starting with the lakeshore as the biggest asset, build some water attractions around that, some kiddie rides, etc., with the Blue Streak as ... let's be honest, probably a money pit, but maybe drawing some people you can sell hot dogs and ice cream to, and providing atmosphere.

Quite probably not a good investment, especially after the fires and neglect. Certainly lakeside condos are the safer bet.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 9:37 PM

I think part of the challenge to Conneaut is not location. The location should be ideal. But rather, it's the amount of investment it would take to make it competitive. If you go back about 30 years, I'd argue is was quite similar - and in some ways - better than Waldameer. If you go back to 1990, Waldameer sold it's carousel and then reinvested in the park, starting the water slide craze, etc. Those with an eye toward history might claim that was a huge mistake, but, that started the water park up that led to what Waldameer is today. In 1990, Conneaut fenced the park off, but really didn't add anything new. Ever since then, Conneaut has had a slew of managers that have really not been able to "make it work", while Waldameer has been quite successful (especially if you hear about the struggles to build up and over the road for the rollercoaster...) Conneaut is actually closer to some of the areas of Cleveland that are "growing" versus Waldameer, and some of those with younger families prefer Waldameer over the "big thrill park" of Cedar Point.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 10:33 PM

The last few years that the park was in operation were actually mildly successful. My understanding is that they were making a (small) profit and were beginning to pay back some of the debt owed as part of the bankruptcy plan as well as make small improvements to the park. They were able to clean up some of their rides and even put a fair amount of new wood on Blue Streak.

I think a couple things happened here. First, the park was making money, but that was a drop in a bucket compared to their debts and failing infrastructure caused by years of neglect, mismanagement, and corruption.

Second, the park was basically being operated by the economic development agency of Crawford County. They seemed to be invested in the success of the park, but I don't think they were interested in running it forever -- they wanted to get it back on its feet, pay back its debts, and then find someone who would be interested in keeping it running into the future.

From afar it seems like they had a handshake agreement with the new owner that he could continue to operate it as an amusement park. The evidence at first seems to support this, as the new owner bought several new rides for the park such as an Octopus and Spinning Dragons. If his intention was solely to raze the park to build condos or a trailer park (depending on who you ask), why would he have spent money on attractions only to close them a few weeks later?

The theory I've heard that makes the most is also the simplest: the guy who bought the park was well-intentioned but is an idiot who had no clue how to run an amusement park and quickly lost interest in it.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 10:46 PM

PhantomTails said:
The theory I've heard that makes the most is also the simplest: the guy who bought the park was well-intentioned but is an idiot who had no clue how to run an amusement park and quickly lost interest in it.

This sounds remarkably like Americanna Park in Middleton as well.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 11:47 PM
LostKause's avatar

Maybe the park doesn't have to compete with other nearby parks. Doesn't the Conneaut Lake area already attract people? There's a lake, and a race track, and a hotel, and probably more. If the park wasn't "a dump," as Tommytheduck called it, I think it could still hold its own. It wouldn't have to be as good as other nearby parks. It would just have to be something people would want to do while they were already at the Lake.

And maybe I am overestimating the popularity of the other things to do at the lake. If I am, the owners of the park would simply have to hold events that would attract the people. It might take a little work, and a little testing to see what gets people there, but it could be done.

Right?


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Wednesday, September 15, 2021 3:49 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Walt S said:

If you go back about 30 years, I'd argue is was quite similar - and in some ways - better than Waldameer. If you go back to 1990, Waldameer sold it's carousel and then reinvested in the park, starting the water slide craze, etc.

Came here to say this as someone that grew up in Erie. Conneaut was awesome back in the day. Waldameer was fine but Conneaut had Blue Streak, Hell Hole, a Pirate ship that scared you in the back rows, Ultimate Trip, Wild Mouse, etc. It was the best. I loved it.


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Friday, September 17, 2021 12:26 AM
Tommytheduck's avatar

Okay, I'll admit that my experience with CLP only started in the early 2000s. I have no fond childhood nostalgia or anything like that. I moved to the Cleveland area in 1999, but it was a few years before I made the trek out. So pretty much my only experiences with it were in a state of decay.

I re- read my TR from 2014, and while it was more positive than I remember, what I said above is what I said in 2014 too. https://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Topic/conneaut-lake-park-101214

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