Preserving the memory of Geauga Lake alive, as property goes from roller coasters to retail, household

Rick Magliano

BAINBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — It’s been 13 several years considering the fact that the previous scream on the Massive Dipper. And four because the closing float down the lazy river.

Coming soon to a shuttered amusement park close to you: housing, retail, business office house and additional. It’s the “more” that Bainbridge Township Trustee Jeff Markley has been performing tough to influence.

Markley, a trustee given that 2006, has devoted himself pretty much complete time in current months to molding the advancement of hundreds of acres of land that at the time housed Geauga Lake amusement park, started in 1887 on the edge of a little spring-fed lake in Northeast Ohio.

“It’s not what so many persons would like – their amusement park again,” said Markley, a landscape architect. “But it simply cannot just be parking tons and large properties and residential. It has to be extra than that.”

Past month, Solon-based Industrial Industrial Houses purchased the land from Cedar Fair, the Sandusky-dependent owner of Cedar Level and extra than a dozen amusement parks. ICP designs to change the Geauga Lake land into a blended-use progress, with shopping, housing, retail and place of work space.

ICP’s buy involves 377 acres, the the greater part of which is in Geauga County’s Bainbridge Township. The sale will come on the heels of an announcement in excess of the summer that Pulte Properties was putting more than 300 housing units on the Aurora side of the former amusement park residence.

“We are pleased the home is being put back to a productive use, advantageous to the neighborhood, and content a perfectly-respected enterprise like Industrial Industrial Qualities will be foremost the enhancement,” claimed Duffield Milkie, govt vice president and basic counsel for Cedar Honest.

The sale marks the conclude of a lengthy, controversial interval for Cedar Good, which has, over the many years, been accused by regional people of acquiring Cedar Issue rival Geauga Lake just to shut it down.

Markley, who worked at Geauga Lake as a teenager and maintains challenging feelings toward Cedar Honest, prefers to feel of this new chapter not as an ending – but a starting.

“Would I instead have an amusement park there? Yeah, sure,” he stated. “Knowing that that genuinely is not really practical, it is far better to have anything following 13 years than very little. When all is stated and completed, I imagine we’ll be delighted with what is there.”

Chris Salata, main operating officer for Industrial Professional Homes, reported the firm has each intention of adhering to as a result of on its stated assure to showcase the park’s record and evoke the nostalgia that a lot of even now come to feel about Geauga Lake.

In addition to buying the land, ICP also acquired the rights to the Geauga Lake title and brand. “We intend to incorporate that into almost everything from land to road to signage to lights,” he said.

The growth will be named the Geauga Lake District and element a new Geauga Lake Boulevard connecting Ohio 43 to Depot Street. An artist’s rendering shows a roller-coaster motivated piece of artwork in the boulevard’s median at the entrance to the enhancement.

“Our overall progress workforce grew up in Northeast Ohio and spent time at Geauga Lake,” Salata mentioned. “We hope it is a area where by men and women can relive some of those people memories.”

Geauga Lake plans

A roller coaster-inspired piece of artwork could be integrated at the entrance to the new Geauga Lake District.

Geauga Lake plans

Geauga Lake’s iconic Huge Dipper, circa 1993.The Plain Dealer

Geauga Lake plans

Progress of the former Geauga Lake amusement park features public accessibility to the 50-acre spring-fed lake.

Even so, lengthy-time followers of the park keep on being disappointed.

“I’ve recognized it as considerably as I can right now,” reported Joe Taylor, who co-wrote “Geauga Lake: Sunrise to Sunset” in 2014 and moderates a Facebook website page devoted to the park’s historical past. “It’s been an amusement park for a hundred decades. Placing these homes in – in a hundred years, they’ll be long gone.”

Continue to, he added, “It’s improved than practically nothing. As long as there’s some general public place, that will appease a lot of people. You’re not going to make every person content. It is not likely to be an amusement park ever once again.”

Taylor is hopeful that the growth will consist of an abundance of community space – the lakefront, possibly a heritage museum and possibly a bandstand for music and exclusive occasions.

Renderings produced by ICP are ideas only, devised within the framework of the grasp system formulated for the property. The corporation is now procuring all those concepts to prospective developers and tenants.

The only company determination hence significantly is from Menards, the Wisconsin-centered home advancement retail outlet chain.

Other items of the improvement will be announced as they make commitments. Salata mentioned it could get yrs before the overall web site is formulated.

He mentioned much of the land will remain public area, such as entry to the lake alone. He envisions the likelihood of boardwalks in and about the h2o, with eating places and retail nearby, in a design and style related to Navy Pier in Chicago, even though on a more compact scale.

“That eastern aspect of the lake could truly generate a interesting ecosystem – for loads of likely amusement sorts of works by using, waterfront dining, a vineyard, a higher-conclude resort. All of that is a chance for that space,” he explained.

He’s also keen to explore with Markley the possibility of including a Geauga Lake heritage museum on the internet site, which could consist of artifacts and mementoes that supporters have gathered over the many years.

He cited as a doable design the Silver Beach front Centre and Carousel in St. Joseph, Michigan, a complicated that celebrates the historical past of the extensive-shuttered Silver Beach Amusement Park, which operated from 1891 to 1971.

Geauga Lake received its begin in 1887 as a lakefront picnic area, with the to start with amusement ride added in 1889. The to start with roller coaster, the Huge Dipper, was included in 1925. The park became part of the 6 Flags chain in 1998 and then was bought by Cedar Truthful in 2004.

Cedar Reasonable closed the amusement park in 2007, citing declining attendance. The adjacent drinking water park, Wildwater Kingdom – on the grounds of the former SeaWorld – was shuttered in 2016.

Dennis Speigel, an marketplace marketing consultant in Cincinnati, said even if Cedar Fair experienced never bought it, Geauga Lake very likely would not have survived.

“It would have been set out of company by Cedar Level,” said Speigel, president of Worldwide Theme Park Solutions. “As the sector commenced to prosper, larger parks ended up invested in. It would have eclipsed what Geauga could have carried out.”

Richard Munch, a neighborhood architect and roller-coaster enthusiast, mentioned he continues to be upset with the full episode – while he acknowledges that it may perhaps have been inevitable.

“Overall, I am admittedly saddened by all of this, as it signals the stop to a amazing time in Northeast Ohio,” claimed Munch, who co-started American Coaster Lovers, a nationwide group, in the late 1970s. “Unfortunately, I have also seen this acted out dozens of situations in my several years of following this industry, as the land has so considerably value that it can’t go on as a park.”

Markley, too, appears to be prepared to move on right after a long time of talk.

He’s seeking ahead, in particular, to opening up the lakefront place to the community, noting that Geauga Lake started off as a picnic region in the late 1800s. “I feel we’re going to recreate some of that,” he said. “We can hearken back to those times.”

Geauga Lake plans

The grasp prepare for the former Geauga Lake amusement park demonstrates room for industrial, household and recreational improvement. at?v=vdKDCUb267w

Go through much more:

Geauga Lake’s closing chapter: Closing of Wildwater Kingdom sets up potential growth

Geauga Lake timeline, from the Massive Dipper to 6 Flags to Cedar Reasonable

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