Monday, June 16, 2014

A New Plan to Save Conneaut Lake Park?

With a sale of the land that sits under Conneaut Lake Park looming, some action has been taken in order to give the park a future - a future that could see the park as a successful part of the community year-round.  Conneaut has had a very troubled story over the past decade or so, and currently faces being sold to pay nearly one million dollars in back property taxes.

The first step was having all current members of the Trustees of the Conneaut Lake Park board resign, which was approved by the local courts last week.  Four new Trustees were appointed, all a part of the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County (EPACC) and they will seek non-members to also join the board so they remain a minority.

But what of all those back taxes?  The new Trustees hope for an agreement to freeze the amount now due, put down $100k on the spot, pay all taxes currently and then promise the funds from the insurance settlement of the Beach Club fire to the tab.  That won't cover it all, but successful operations and the sale of unneeded land could get the tab paid within four years.

With the taxes under control, the organization would then focus on a 10 year, $12.5 revitalization plan that could make the park function as a community events area alongside an amusement park:

As you can see by looking closely at the map above, the plan (here is a link to the full pdf) does not include expanding the amusements much - but if the key to even keeping them around at all is to expand the land's use, well then by all means.  The water park, which is small and fairly sad, looks to be removed.

Additions that would make up the $12.5 million would include a new Beach Club, Performing Arts Center, Dreamland Expo Center, new Midway, and around $2 million on the amusements.

As far as who will be paying for all that - the group plans to use a combination of grants, public and private funds.  So even if the County's lawyers approve the plan, there's no guarantee any cash will show up to get the plan done.  But hey - at least there's something new on the table that might work, right?  It's certainly better than the black hole the park has slowly been falling into.