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Arts & Culture

Geauga Lake Could Be the New Home For Moviemaking

photo of Geauga Lake

A bill in the Ohio House would expand the state’s film tax-credit program. And that could breathe new life into an abandoned Northeast Ohio landmark.

House Bill 475 aims to increase the amount of credits that may be awarded to films shooting here each year. Cleveland Film Commission CEO Ivan Schwarz says expanding the program will increase the need for film industry infrastructure, such as soundstages.

Speaking at the Wizard World Comic Con in Cleveland over the weekend, he said one of the locations being considered for a film complex is on the site of Geauga Lake amusement park.

“Which is going to be jobs outside of just filmmakers. It’s going to be Port-a-Potties and Dumpsters and construction and nails and all these other things. [It] just provides even more jobs than just production.”

The site in Bainbridge and Aurora has been mostly closed-off since 2007, with only the rotting carcass of the historic Big Dipper roller coaster still visible. Schwarz says there are no plans for the site yet, nor for the 91-year-old coaster.

Ivan Schwarz on The Big Dipper roller coaster

“I love it there. So I’d love to see it stay in some way. So that would be my choice. But none of it’s really going to happen until the incentive passes.”

Schwarz says the other location being considered is the Severance Town Center shopping center in Cleveland Heights.