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Coney Island Cincinnati to remove all rides


BoddaH1994
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I'm still wondering what Coney will be like for big events like Balloon Glow and especially Fire Up the Nite. The rides have always been a big draw at both events (and a reason to get there early to beat the crowds). With the pool being closed by the time Fire Up the Nite occurs, there's not going to be much for anyone to do before the fireworks start.

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On 2/6/2020 at 8:48 AM, DeviousMrMatt said:

My wife and I discuss this every year when it comes to passes for our family. Kings Islands is definitely the better deal, but as far as location (we are in Amelia) and the fact that my wife just wants to lay in the pool on a raft or hang out in the deep end of the pool, we ultimately choose Coney because there is no place for my wife to relax at KI in a pool.

Exactly.   Zoombezi Bay has an adults only lazy river and bar with drinks allowed on the tubes.  Just take my money.  

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I would say look for it to be expanded upon in future years.  This year, I am sure, will be a bit of a transition year.

Also, part of the park is currently under water, as the Ohio River is expected to be above flood stage this weekend.  Currently, Kellogg Avenue is closed between Sutton (Gate 2 of the park), and Belterra Park to the east, right by where Sunlite Pool is located.

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2 hours ago, grsupercity said:

Its sad that its another park I will miss out on. The second I heard Elitch Gardens was closing I flew to Denver to make sure I didn't miss the park. I was a year shy of GL in Ohio before it closed.

Elitch won’t close. The park is owned by a spouse to a heir of the Walton family. The owner has a history of having his businesses get their way (LA Rams for example). If anything the city will relocate them.

Furthermore, with this pandemic, the housing community might not proceed as originally anticipated.

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3 hours ago, gforce1994 said:

Elitch won’t close. The park is owned by a spouse to a heir of the Walton family. The owner has a history of having his businesses get their way (LA Rams for example). If anything the city will relocate them.

Furthermore, with this pandemic, the housing community might not proceed as originally anticipated.

I hope your right. Though the park really had its issues I actually liked the park. Lakeside was nice as well but really needed someTLC

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Per their social media channels, the park has announced that the third party carnival rides previously slated for Ballon Glow will not be appearing due to a scheduling conflict. 
 

If only there was a way they could have rides available to the public during large events like these…

It’s almost as if they make these decisions using a blindfold and a dart board. 

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23 hours ago, CoastersRZ said:

I think the real issue is current ownership.  They are the ones that prompted the decision to remove the rides.  Still a silly move in my opinion.  I wish someone would purchase it and reinvest in the dry side and add a couple of things to the pool as well.

Same. The sad thing is, had the owners decided to act upon the proposed wood coaster, I feel the park would have been in a good place.

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The irony in "creating an entertainment destination" on the grounds of an entertainment destination that existed three years ago... 

I doubt they'll let the land sit for too terribly long. Flooding is always going to be an issue, but I imagine the current ownership/management would jump at the opportunity sell the land. With the race track/casino, Riverbend, Deadlow, food options dominating the area, it baffles the mind that the park could not have remained intact and expanded. They could have easily gone the route of retaining most of the rides and revamping the area to be a Newport on the Levee type place. It makes absolutely no sense to just leave all that infrastructure abandoned (or to be used as storage) in a part of the city that is prime for revitalization.

I know Covid has affected every industry, but so far their promise of Sunlite's "water adventure" expansion has been limited to an inflatable obstacle course and a festival in which they planned to have an outside company bring in carnival rides, only to have it canceled last minute. That's embarrassing. 

Sell the park to someone else who knows how to run a park. 

 

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2021/11/24/cincinnati-coney-island-future-eastern-edge-pondered/6344346001/

 

Quote

Coney Island's roller coasters, scramblers and Ferris wheels remain in a century's worth of Cincinnatians' memories and sepia tone photos.

The rides themselves are gone, replaced with grass and paved lots for festivals. 

Two years ago, the 135-year-old amusement park sold the rides to focus on expanding attractions at its massive Sunlite Pool and waterpark and hosting bigger events. 

Now leaders and residents in Anderson Township and Cincinnati's California neighborhood want to turn the riverfront around the park into a destination, possibly something like The Banks or Newport on the Levee.

A recently completed study by Anderson Township calls for a "welcome plaza," signs, roundabouts, better lighting and other improvements to encourage more people –  and developers – to come to the riverfront in Anderson Township and California. 

The township hopes to attract businesses to the area around Coney Island, particularly along a 2.5-mile stretch of Kellogg Avenue through California's business district past Coney Island, Riverbend and Belterra Park. They also are working with planners in the city of Cincinnati, Hamilton County and the California Community Council.

At the top of the wish list for elected officials and business owners: a hotel.

"What we’re doing is rolling out the red carpet in terms of the look and feel of the area in hopes it attracts new businesses," said Anderson Township Trustee Josh Gerth. 

'The most precious available land'

Coney Island's Sunlite Pool is in Anderson Township. The rest of the park is part of California, a neighborhood that feels more like a small river town with its small cluster of 100-year-old buildings between Kellogg Avenue and the Ohio River.

Popular local legend has it the area was settled in 1849 by prospectors floating down the Ohio River to California during the Gold Rush. Instead of continuing, they supposedly stopped there and called the area California.

"We have a little village," said David Ross, president of the California Community Council. "We've got a Main Street with houses, small businesses. It's walkable." 

High-end townhomes are being built along California's riverfront, despite the perennial concerns of flooding.

For those who live and work in the area, they're surprised it's taken a century. 

"It's totally bizarre this area from a development standpoint is not considered the most precious available land in the Tristate area," said Paul Ganim.

In 2019, the longtime Anderson Township resident opened Dead Low Brewing in California within sight of Coney Island. It is one of a handful of restaurants in the riverside neighborhood. 

"We are minutes from downtown … we are in the heart of the entertainment district that will never go away: Riverbend, Belterra, Coney Island and now Dead Low."

Taming the Ohio River

That's not to say there's nothing there. Coney Island's Sunlite Pool draws 250,000 swimmers a year, according to Coney Island management. Events such as the Christmas Nights of Lights, the Appalachian Festival and Summerfair draw thousands to the old amusement park. 

Next door to Coney is Riverbend, one of the region's largest concert venues. And Belterra Park, formerly River Downs race track, now draws people to the area year-round after it opened as a combination horse track and video slot parlor "racino" in 2014

But restaurants, stores and other attractions have been hard to come by. 

One reason it's been so hard to develop is also the region's biggest asset.

"The river," laughed Coney Island President Brent McClellan when asked what the biggest challenge is operating along the Ohio River. "It's hard to put anything in here. The flood comes every year."

The river floods parts of the area at least once a year, covering a good portion of Coney Island. 

Kings Island exists because of the yearly floods at Coney. In 1971, Coney Island's then-owners, Taft Broadcasting, closed the park and moved it inland far away from the floodwaters to Mason, where Coney Island became Kings Island. Coney Island reopened in 1973 and the rides eventually returned to stay until 2019. 

New development in the area might need to be raised above the floodplain, trustee Gerth said.

Anderson Township owns a vacant, seven-acre parcel at the intersection of Five Mile Road and Kellogg Avenue near the interchange with Interstate 275. It would be ideal for a mixed-use development, hotel or entertainment complex, he said. 

No 'sense of arrival'

First, the area needs to be spruced up. The eastern entrance to Cincinnati lacks a "sense of arrival," as a study completed in October and commissioned by Anderson Township described it. 

Anderson Township paid $40,000 for a firm to survey hundreds of residents and develop a plan to make the area look better and improve safety. 

The largest portion of the 290 residents surveyed, 27%, said beautification was the biggest need.

The study's authors suggested more signs welcoming people to Coney Island, California and Anderson Township. The most dramatic feature would be a "welcome plaza" at the entrance of Coney Island where Sutton Road and Kellogg Avenue meet. While the design would have to be worked out, renderings show a circular gathering spot with landscaping, walking paths and a central sculpture. 

The next most popular survey responses, 17% each, were improved safety and more pedestrian access.

Residents in California told The Enquirer that drivers speed down Kellogg Avenue without seeming to notice the residents and businesses nearby. In the year-and-a-half Desiree Grigsby has lived in California a block away from Kellogg Avenue, she has seen many near-crashes. She doesn't cite aesthetic improvements or any hotel as her top wish. She just wants cars to slow down. 

"I've been honked at a bunch pulling out because people are flying," Grigsby said. 

To slow traffic, the study proposes two roundabouts on Kellogg Avenue on both sides of the I-275 interchange as well as eliminating one northbound lane in California.

There's just one big detail to be worked out: money. Where the money will come from, or even the total cost, of such a project, is not clear. Developing the plan is the first step, said Paul Drury, Anderson Township's director of planning and zoning. 

The next step is to look for grants and identify other sources of money. A tax-increment financing district around Belterra Park created by the township could also provide money. It generated $1.4 million in the past year for improvements along Kellogg Avenue. Some parts of the plan, such as planting more trees, directional and informational signs, could be done in the next couple years, Drury said. Others, such as the welcome plaza and roundabouts, could be five to 10 years off. 

In the meantime, businesses have slowly opened up along this corridor. After Dead Low Brewing opened in 2019, a barbecue joint across the street, Pig Candy, followed in 2020. 

This is welcome news to Tom Zins. He opened Grove Park Grille across from Belterra in Anderson Township in 2014. The restaurant, along with the longstanding Lebo's in California, were the only restaurants within walking distance of Coney Island and Riverbend until 2019. 

Belterra changed the neighborhood, Zins said. Coney Island and Riverbend do most of their business in the summer. Belterra's racino brings in traffic year-round. The racino had its most lucrative year in the past year, according to figures from the Ohio Lottery. The lottery runs the racino's video lottery terminals. Belterra Park raked in $86.4 million in its video lottery terminals in the fiscal year ending 2021, the most since it opened in 2014. Belterra's racino also has a restaurant, Stadium Sports Bar & Grill.

Zins hopes Anderson Township's study will jump-start more business.

"I’m not kidding myself, it’s going to transform the area. What it will do a really good job of, promoting the area," he said. "I don’t’ think people still think of it as a destination."

What about Coney Island?

So what about the area's most famous landmark, Coney Island? In talking with park management, one thing became clear: the rides won't be coming back anytime soon.

The park plans to focus on Sunlite Pool and hosting events on the space that formerly held the rides. The park added an inflatable obstacle course and other attractions in the past two years. People have responded, said Steve Edwards, Coney Island's vice president of operations.

"The water park experience has been good for us," Edwards said. 

Summerfair and other festivals held on the grounds have expanded to use the space that once held the rides. 

So where did Coney Islands' rides end up?

"We're not interested in discussing the rides," Edwards said.

 

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Why do we need another big entertainment district out there? Newport on the Levee and all the stuff on Beechmont are both within 10 minutes of Coney.

Because that’s tax dollars that’s not going into the towns that’s coney is part of. Ultimately that’s the reason. Money money money.


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