Conneaut Lake Park boat docks to be unavailable in 2017

With additional land sales at Conneaut Lake Park expected later this year, boat docks again won’t be available at the amusement park for the coming boating season.

Tentative sales agreements are falling into place for two more lots from the former Flynn property, according to Mark Turner, executive director of Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park. Trustees is the nonprofit corporation that oversees amusement park operations.

The former Flynn property has 330 feet of lakefront access with the amusement park’s public dock area with about 70 to 75 boat slips, Turner said. Trustees decommissioned the amusement park’s boat docks prior to the 2016 boating season as it began to market the Flynn property as a way to get rid of some of its debt.

Trustees consider the Flynn property unnecessary for Conneaut Lake Park’s long-term operation. Trustees are using lot sales from the property as a way to repay some of the debts under its Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan approved in September 2016 by U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Western Pennsylvania.

In 2016, bankruptcy court approved the sale of three of lakefront lots from the former Flynn property.

“The land sales mandate removing the docks this spring,” Turner said at the recent February meeting of Trustees. “Replacing them? Yes, we’ve got to have them.”

Long-term amusement park plans call for a new marina to be built on park-owned lakefront property — south of the beach and closer to the park’s Hotel Conneaut, Turner said. The Flynn property is north of the amusement park’s beach.

Putting in a new marina will take time — both to plan it and to secure necessary permits from the state, Turner said. The earliest a new marina at Conneaut Lake Park could be installed would be for the 2018 boating season, he said.

“We have to get permits. We have to find an operator,” Turner said. “We don’t want to put it on the beach. We want to consolidate it near the hotel.”

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Land sales from the Flynn property in 2016 cut the amusement park’s overdue real estate tax bill in half.

When Trustees filed bankruptcy in December 2014, the amusement park owed to Conneaut School District, Crawford County, and Summit and Sadsbury townships about $1.3 million in real estate taxes, interest, fees and penalties, dating back to 1997.

Three lakefront lots from the Flynn property sold in 2016, generating combined net proceeds of $618,510.95 toward the $1.3 million owed.

The Flynn property was subdivided into a total of six parcels — five lakefront lots of approximately one-third of an acre each and one larger lot of about 1.6 acres, located behind the lakefront lots.

If sales of another lakefront lot and the 1.6-acre site go through, it would generate another $425,000 before sales and real estate transfer fees are deducted, Turner said. The proposed lakefront lot sale is $250,000, while the 1.6 acre site would sell for $175,000 before fees, he said.

“That’s really good news for us,” Turner said. “We’d have one lot left.”

If those sales agreements are finalized, Trustees will petition bankruptcy court for approval of the respective sales, Turner said.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.


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