Conneaut Lake Park is planning the July 4th opening weekend; Tumble Bug is gone. | New
Memorial Day weekend has traditionally been the opening of Conneaut Lake Park, but the new owner is now aiming for the July 4th weekend instead of one of its nostalgic rides.
A bigger blow to summer nostalgia than the delayed start date, the Tumble Bug – one of the park’s iconic rides – was deemed incapable of repair, though its cars have been preserved.
Separate announcements about the delayed opening and disappearance of the Tumble Bug came over the weekend via social media posts at New Conneaut Lake Park, the amusement park’s Facebook page.
“The park will NOT be open / ready until Memorial Day,” read the Sunday night post. “We hope to open the weekend of July 4th.”
Saturday’s post stated that the Tumble Bug, a low-level roller coaster from the 1920s, was not coming back.
“We wanted to make sure it met our expectations before opening,” owner Todd Joseph of Keldon Holdings LLC told the Tribune in an interview Monday.
Keldon bought Conneaut Lake Park and its assets for $ 1.2 million in a proceeding in U.S. bankruptcy court earlier this year.
“It’s going to take a little longer,” Joseph said. “I bought the park only two months ago and the amount of work that has been done has exceeded even our expectations. It is a huge undertaking. I have the right team in place and they are doing a great job. for some, if the park succeeds in moving forward, it should get the credit. “
Joseph’s plan to revitalize the historic amusement park is to make it an event center, in which entities would rent the grounds for gatherings such as festivals and concerts.
The dilapidated buildings along Midway have been cleared from Comstock Street in the southeast to the lakeside promenade. The deteriorated roadway and trees in the area were cleared as well as the old large wooden stage that overlooked the lake. The large open space will be the site of festivals and concerts.
Construction of a Tiki hut style bar has also started on the park’s beach.
“Considering COVID and some of the transportation issues with the rides, we decided to run it (the opening) for a month,” Joseph said.
Joseph confirmed he was working to add more rides to the amusement park as well as his Kiddieland area, but declined to say how many or what they were.
“I’d rather just wait and let people in. I think they’ll be more excited that way,” he said.
In a social media post in April, the park said two of its iconic rides – the Tumble Bug and the Blue Streak roller coaster – would not be in service this year due to necessary repairs.
The Tumble Bug “needs a lot of repairs to keep it safe,” the April 1 post read. “It will take time. We intend to maintain it and make it work next year.”
On Saturday, an update posted to the New Conneaut Lake Park Facebook page said the Tumble Bug could not be fixed, but made no mention of the Blue Streak roller coaster.
“As previously stated, the Tumble Bug needed a lot of repairs and our hope was to fix it and get it ready for 2022,” it reads in part. “The problems with the Tumble Bug couldn’t be fixed and we couldn’t save it. Believe me when I say we tried. It wasn’t the prospect we wanted but it was irreparable. . Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. “
But luckily his cars were saved, according to the post.
“We didn’t want to throw the cars out, so we put them inside the park, where they belong, to cherish the memories. When we open, guests can sit inside to take photos.
Joseph said he had received conflicting reports on the viability of the Tumble Bug to continue.
“So that leaves me in the middle and we don’t put bandages on gunshot wounds anymore – that’s really what it comes down to,” he said.
Joseph reiterated that the Blue Streak will not operate this year, but will be reviewed this fall.
“After the summer, we’ll take a look,” he said of the wooden roller coaster. “We will bring in structural engineers. It will not be operational this year. No final decision has been made.”
Many other changes are taking place on the grounds of the park.
The old pony track, its building and its fence have been removed.
“It hasn’t responded to what we’re trying to do,” Joseph said. “We are going to expand Kiddieland into this area and add family rides as well.”
The plan is to make the park and its rides flexible.
“The idea is to have a park where you can pivot, move them systematically,” he said.
The exterior of the park’s former convention hall is being stripped down so that it can become an outdoor picnic area with food and drink stations and music, Joseph said .
The bumper cars building will become an event hub for under-21s with a disc jockey, food and more.
Some events are already booked for July at Parc du Lac Conneaut, including a concert on July 3 and a car, truck and motorcycle show on July 31.
“The scheduled events are going well,” said Joseph. “These events are definitely booked and we are working on a few more events this year.” He is working to have events scheduled for every weekend of the 2022 season.
Joseph declined to comment on his recent purchase of the nearby Sunset View Motel property at 12210 Route 618 in Sadsbury Township near the park. Joseph said it was a separate item.
Sunset View is a 28-room motel with 10 additional separate cottages as well as a four-bedroom single-family residence on seven acres of land. IKLR Assets LLC, another limited liability company formed by Joseph, purchased the property for $ 69,540.83 from James D. and Elizabeth Clark, according to a deed filed May 6 with the registry and registrar’s office of Crawford County.
Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at [email protected]