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Public Meeting on the Future of Conneaut Lake Park

Officials and the public met on Wednesday to hear the Economic Progress Alliance's plans for the future of the park.
The Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County has been working on cleaning up Conneaut Lake Park for six months, but on Wednesday, had the opportunity to lay out the entire plan to the public, the park’s taxing bodies and Crawford County Commissioners.

The park’s taxing bodies include the Conneaut School District, Sadsbury Township and Summit Township. Also present was the CLP Board of Trustees, the EPA and Crawford County Commissioners.

"Everybody's gonna lose if the park closes and the community closes. That’s it, it's gonna be a ghost town,” said Debbie Bearley of Pittsburgh.

Debbie was one member of the community who gathered Wednesday night to hear how the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County plans to revitalize Conneaut Lake Park.

The EPA’s plan includes extending the park's business season to a 12-month public events park. This will include keeping the amusement park, opening a campground, rebuilding the beach club, maintaining the hotel, and building performing arts centers.

This plan could likely cost between $12 and $14 million over the next 10 to 12 years. That money would come from a variety of sources, including private funding and public grants.

Crawford County Commissioners planned this meeting so that all participating parties could get on the same page about the plan.

"It's been running a little better than half in favor of supporting the park, but there is definitely people that feel very strongly on both sides of the issue,” says Francis Weiderspahn, a Crawford County Commissioner.

As far as paying those $900,000 in back taxes, the EPA hopes to freeze the delinquent taxes, and pay back the balance within four years.

While most of the meeting’s attendees were fighting to save the park, some think it's time for the community move on.

"We've had a lot of cuts in our school district and there's some programs that might get cut, if we, ya know, don't have taxes. Pay the taxes first. You owe the taxes to the townships and the school district. Pay the taxes,” says Linda Picrillo of Crawford County.

Conneaut Lake Park is currently scheduled for a tax sale on September 26, 2014.

No timetable was discussed at Wednesday’s meeting, but the decision can be changed up until the day of that tax sale.
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