Conneaut Lake park changes

Editor’s note: A few weeks ago, the Tribune provided readers with what we believe are the most important Crawford County-area stories of the year. We then asked our readers to rank the stories from No. 1 (most important) to No. 12 (least important). Today, we present story No 1.

No. 1 — Park changes

The Conneaut Lake Park property began 2022 as an amusement park with camping facilities and closes out the year evolving toward a future of a camping park with amusements.

Keldon Holdings LLC, owner of the amusement park, was in the process of tearing down the Blue Streak, the park’s fabled wooden roller coaster, when portions of it caught fire Jan. 4.

Once one of the premier attractions at Conneaut Lake Park, the Blue Streak dated from the park’s 1938 season. It was the 17th-oldest wooden roller coaster in the nation.

Keldon had demolition and controlled burn permits from Summit Township for the work. Workers were doing a controlled burn of old wood from the coaster when fire spread Jan. 4, causing more damage to the Blue Streak.

One of the Blue Streak’s cars does live on at Conneaut Lake Area Historical Society’s museum on North Third Street in the borough. Keldon Holdings donated the car the historical society.

While the park hosted various events and festivals during its 2022 season, Keldon also made plans to move in a slightly different, but related direction.

In September, Todd Joseph, owner of Keldon Holdings LLC, sought a special exception and variance from Summit Township Zoning Hearing Board to move toward conversion of the property into a family recreational vehicle park.

The park property is located in a business district and under township zoning regulations RV parks only are permitted by special exception.

At an initial hearing Sept. 21, Joseph told the board all the previous owners/operators of Conneaut Lake Park said the park could not just rely on a 12-week summer amusement park season.

An RV park would create residual income while still having a smaller amusement park with both indoor and outdoor recreational amenities which would be open to the public, Joseph said.

Summit Township Zoning Hearing Board granted Keldon the special exception in October, but denied a variance from 70-foot setback requirements. A setback is the distance in which building is prohibited.

The zoning hearing board said it needed a better defined preliminary site plan for development from Keldon.

A variance for a revised preliminary master plan was approved by the zoning hearing board Dec. 21. However, the approval still requires a minimum setback of 35 feet in most areas instead of the 70 feet.

Keldon’s plan proposes adding 109 RV sites added to the park’s Camperland property, located west of Route 618, with as many as 383 new 2,000-square-foot RV cabin sites added east of Route 618 on the amusement park land.

The amusement park area east of Route 618 also would have a swimming pool, an indoor amusement center and the amusement park’s carousel plus a boat storage building.

Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at

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