Meadville Tribune

Local News

April 23, 2014

Board overhaul proposal tabled by Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park

MEADVILLE — Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park have tabled action until at least today on a proposed economic development plan to revitalize the amusement park.

According to Brian Pulito, the attorney for Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park, the Trustees’ board voted Monday night to table any decision on the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County’s proposal until a private negotiation session tentatively scheduled for today.

That session will be between representatives of Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and Crawford County, according to Pulito.

Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park is a corporation that oversees the public trust that owns the park. Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park has been in charge of the park since 2007.

The Economic Progress Alliance, the county’s lead economic development agency, has submitted a proposal to the Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park to create a new board to oversee the amusement park’s operations.

At their meeting last Thursday, county commissioners unanimously voted to support Economic Progress Alliance’s effort to try and save the 120-year-old amusement park from a September tax sale for more than $900,000 in back taxes.

In endorsing the Economic Progress Alliance’s efforts, commissioners also said a formal plan has to be presented to the county and accepted — otherwise, the park’s property will be sold at the county’s annual tax sale Sept. 26.

Chairman Francis Weiderspahn Jr. of Crawford County Board of Commissioners said Tuesday he didn’t expect himself and fellow commissioner Jack Lynch to attend today’s negotiation session on the Economic Progress Alliance’s proposal.

“We don’t want to be in the mix of negotiations,” Weiderspahn said. “We feel it should be between them to get it worked out.”

C. Sherman Allen, the county’s third commissioner, said he may attend the negotiation session.

“I don’t want to lose focus on the back taxes,” Allen said Tuesday afternoon.

 The Economic Progress Alliance’s proposal would pay off delinquent property taxes within the next four years and avoid this year’s county’s tax sale, according to Executive Director Mark Turner.

As of April 4, Conneaut Lake Park owed $906,595.44 in back property taxes, interest and penalties to Conneaut School District, Crawford County and Sadsbury and Summit townships, dating back to 1997, according to figures from the Crawford County Treasurer’s Office.

The Economic Progress Alliance proposal would replace the Trustees’ board with a new seven-member board, four from the Economic Progress Alliance and three from the Trustees. Turner told commissioners the proposal would provide management and oversight to reorganize, revision and revitalize the park.

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