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Kaleidoscope: Parks gone; what does future hold for Geauga Lake land?

by KEN LAHMERS | AURORA ADVOCATE EDITOR Published: September 7, 2016 12:00 AM

For nearly 130 years, the land around Geauga Lake has been occupied by some kind of park.

A picnic grounds back in the late 1880s was the first use on part of the acreage. Then came amusement, marine life and water parks.

Now the last remnant of the site used for recreation and leisure -- Wildwater Kingdom -- will disappear after this weekend.

It's a sad scenario, but over the course of a century a lot of things change, and this is one of them.

Since Sea World closed, many local residents said they've really missed it. The same went for Geauga Lake Park. Now, that sentiment is being voiced about Wildwater Kingdom.

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I haven't been to the water park, except for media coverage when it first opened, but I can truthfully say I miss the other two parks.

The site from which screams emanated from riders on roller coasters and other attractions is joining the graveyard of other defunct Northeast Ohio parks such as Brady Lake, Silver Lake, Chippewa Lake, Euclid Beach and Idora.

The big question that area residents are asking is "What will the future hold for the 650 acres around Geauga Lake owned by Cedar Fair?"

It's anyone's guess.

The amusement park part of Geauga Lake has been closed for nine years, and stripped of most of its structures, but no redevelopment has taken place yet.

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A master plan for the property is being put together, and likely will be completed within the next couple of months.

Once that is completed, it should open the door for better marketing of the property and improved opportunities for redevelopmen. Hopefully, some developers will come forward with some great plans.

A Meijer superstore and a film studio are two of the uses being proposed at this time.

Local officials are hoping that whatever goes on the vacant land will include some kind of recognition of what the land once was used for.

Let's hope that whatever is built there will be something of which the surrounding communities can be proud.

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189

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