Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 9:30 AM | Contributed by jimvid
Williams Grove owner Morgan Hughes said he hopes to sell the 155-year-old fun park to a larger amusement park operator. He said he would sell the park to the highest bidder, provided the new owner kept it as an amusement park. He says that Hershey Entertainment and Cedar Fair are the kinds of companies he hopes will be interested.
I can see Hershey buying if they wanted to acquire the small number of patrons that frequent Williams Grove and not Hersheypark each year but definitely not Cedar Fair. Besides, I wouldn't want Williams Grove to be turned into a Cedar Fair park... that would mean the end of everything at the park, except maybe the Wildcat.
I was always under the impression that the revenue from speedway was what kept the property going, and if the park was left to fend for itself on the money it brings in it would have closed up shop years ago.
Morgan, yes, I cal him by his first name, never had debt. He put what he had to into the park. They have great revenue from corporate picnics, and the track to this day is the #2 dirt track in the US. You would never think it, but that park will be a asset to someone.
Six Flags did not get Dutch Wonderland, as the Clarks were more inclined to sell to HERCO. Do not be surprised if Six Flags actually does a bid. That park is 'marketable' to the DC area, and for once Six Flags may be on defense.
If HERCO buys it, it will be out of defensive measures only. Kennywood has their eyes on bigger fish, but Knobels may be a suprise bidder. This could be interesting, as about 6 companies can benefit.
I was actually thinking Six Flags too. It's not too small for them (see Wyandot Lake). "Spruce up" the rides and "expand" the fledgling water park ("expand?" I should have said REBUILD) and it could be a park in teh Wyandot Lake vein.
If it is bought by a larger company it would be interesting to see what happens to the Cyclone. By the looks and feel of it last year and all my outher visits I just wonder if someone would spend the money to rebuild it or just build somthing new.
I think if someone bought it and turned it into a mid sized waterpark it could be a gold mine. Where are the nearest waterparks in the Harrisburg area? Dorney, Camelbeach and SFA?
I have to show my inexperience and say, I never even knew about Williams Grove until last the articles started showing up here on CB over the past week. From the pictures on their site it looks like a great little park. Reminds me personally of Americana / Lesourdsville Lake, (It's looks to be very beautiful with it's wooded, grassy areas...which is rare in many of todays parks!). Please, somebody buy this park, I'd love to visit it someday soon.
Morgan was really the first guy who figured out the 'import laws', and how speed up any process of a ride sale and delivery. When a park ordered a ride from say, West Germany, Morgan started the process of paperwork that included shipping and customs procedures. When the ride was manufactured and ready, so was Morgan.
So much that he often took the unsold rides from the Oktoberfest in West Germany and set them up at Palisades Park. When that park was sold, and in my opinion was a BS call on New Jersey's part, he bought Williams Grove for a song and a dance, and his import business was alive and well.
WG services 2 major markets, Harrisburg and Baltimore, and 2 outer markets, Philly and DC. Someone will step up with the check book.