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Economy and Business

Giving the old Geauga Lake site new life is issue on May primary ballot
Issue 11 would swap amusement park zoning from industrial to mixed use.

Kevin Niedermier
Geauga Lake since closing in 2007.
Courtesy of Joel Rogers/Coaster Gallery
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An issue on the May 6th primary ballot could impact the future of the former Geauga Lake Amusement Park property in Portage County.   Aurora voters will decide will if they want the more than 500 acres rezoned from industrial to mixed use.                                                                        

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The Geauga Lake land has been vacant since the park closed in 2007.  And industrial developers have shown no interest in the property. But Aurora city officials believe zoning it for entertainment, residential and office use will be more appealing. One possibility includes preserving part of the old amusement park, including the 90year old Big Dipper rollercoaster. Coaster enthusiast Carole Sanderson is with Herschman Architects. In 2008, she and the company developed a plan for a small amusement and entertainment center on part of the site.

“Where people go for a couple hours, they enjoy lunch, or they can use that property for a venue for something else. And, if it backed up to the lake, and to some of these other places, it could be a really, really nice asset for the community.”

Sanderson says the plan was shelved after the recession hit.She hopes passage of the rezoning issue will give it new life. Sanderson says redevelopment of the Geauga Lake land will be expensive because it lacks adequate sewer and water hookups, and clearing out the old amusement park structures would be difficult. Part of the property is in Bainbridge Township, and zoned for residential and commercial use. The property’s owner, Cedar Fair, which owns Cedar Point, is asking $15 million for the land.                                                                                  


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