Coaster group concerned about park plans and Blue Streak | New

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American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) expresses concern about the future of Conneaut Lake Park and its Blue Streak roller coaster.

The group, which describes itself as the world’s largest organization of entertainment enthusiasts, released a letter on Thursday expressing apprehension.

“The manner in which the park has conducted its business this summer, including the removal of many long-standing rides and structures and almost non-existent transparent communications, has been most disturbing to supporters of the park,” the letter said.

Conneaut Lake Park was purchased in March by Todd Joseph of Keldon Holdings LLC for $ 1.2 million from the trustees of Conneaut Lake Park in bankruptcy proceedings in the United States.

Since then, the park has seen many old buildings removed from its middle of Comstock Street in the southeast to the lakeside promenade. A wooden stage, along with the sidewalk and trees, were also removed to create an open space for festivals and concerts.

The Tumble Bug, a 1920s merry-go-round and one of only two of its kind in existence, was also removed, with the park saying in a Facebook post that it was beyond repair.

The Blue Streak, according to ACE, is among the 20 oldest roller coasters in North America, and only one of two remaining designed by Edward Vettel Sr., a famous roller coaster designer. It was also labeled ACE Roller Coaster Landmark – one of 45 roller coasters in the world chosen as such – and one of 30 roller coasters in the world to qualify as an ACE Coaster Classic, an award given to rides that “provide a truly pure and traditional roller coaster experience. “

In an interview earlier this year, Joseph told the Tribune that the Blue Streak will not be operational this season, but should be reviewed this fall.

“We are going to bring in structural engineers,” he said. “No final decision has been made.”

ACE said it donated over $ 30,000 to the restoration of Blue Streak and was “instrumental” in securing a $ 50,000 grant from Pepsi for the coaster.

“ACE implores the ownership of Conneaut Lake Park to reconsider the historic nature of the park and Blue Streak and how the two can fit into various models for the future of the property,” the organization wrote.

Joseph declined to comment on Blue Streak’s future in a text to the Tribune on Thursday.

The group also urged the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) to “hold park ownership accountable for complying with all covenants and restrictions to which it is legally bound.”

PHMC tried to contact Joseph regarding the demolition and renovations done at the park this year. Due to the park’s acceptance of a 2013 grant of $ 12,500 from the commission for the preservation of the Blue Streak, any changes to the core area of ​​the park must be reviewed and approved by the PHMC until 2028. commission spokesperson Howard Pollman told the Tribune.

The acceptance of the grants imposed covenants, or restrictions, for a period of 15 years, including the review and approval of the provisions of the plans. A copy of the covenants is filed with the Crawford County Deeds Register office.

As reported in an August 26 Tribune article, PHMC sent letters dated June 7 and 13 requesting Joseph to forward plans to the commission, but did not receive responses. The commission’s legal advisor further sent a letter on August 5 warning of possible further action if no action was taken by Joseph, but it also did not receive a response.

At that time, Joseph also did not comment on whether he had received the letters from PHMC.

Due to the restrictive covenants, the park is treated as if it were on the National Register of Historic Places, even though it is not, according to Pollman. This includes the maintenance and preservation of the park in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for the treatment of historic properties.

ACE concluded its letter by imploring its members and residents of Crawford County to “demand that the community asset of Conneaut Lake Park be restored to the extent possible.”

Sean P. Ray can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at [email protected]


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