Man starts GoFundMe to bring Geauga Lake back

Photo+of+Geauga+Lake+Amusement+Park.

Photo of Geauga Lake Amusement Park.

Paige Bennett

A Northeast Ohio man has launched a fundraising campaign in an effort to bring back Geauga Lake Amusement Park.

Brian Roote created a  GoFundMe page Feb. 24 asking for donations for a project called “Bring Back Geauga Lake.”

The project is divided into five phases. The first phase is to purchase the land. If the land is purchased, the other four phases would focus on refurbishing the area, building attractions and a hotel and maintaining the grounds.    

“We will rehabilitate the park close to its nostalgic state, while upgrading amenities and updating safety precautions,” Roote wrote on the page.

The idea, Roote said, developed over years of frustration of seeing the land go unused.

“We’ve heard every excuse about what’s going to go there, and nothing ever happens,” Roote said.

Roote set up the GoFundMe page by himself; however, he has since implemented a board of directors to assist with the project. The board is made up of business owners from around Northeast Ohio.

Roote said the entire project could cost approximately $350 million. About $250 million would go toward cleaning up the land and constructing new rides and facilities.

“The first step is transforming the current waste land into a thriving natural oasis, similar to that of a nature preserve for all of the community to enjoy,” Roote wrote.

As of Sunday, the GoFundMe page had raised $1,009 of its $20 million goal.

Roote wrote although the project “seems impossible,” he believes it can happen.  

Located in Aurora and Bainbridge Township, Geauga Lake Amusement Park was about 15 miles from Kent.  

The park was home to roller coasters such as Raging Wolf Bobs, Big Dipper and Double Loop. Taking up over 500 acres of land, it was once considered the largest amusement park in the world.

Geauga Lake permanently closed in 2007, three years after it had been acquired by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. The closure was a result of declining attendance, as well as a lack of hotels in the surrounding area,  according to Cleveland.com.

Geauga Lake’s water park portion, Wildwater Kingdom, was shut down at the end of its 2016 season.

Since the closure of Geauga Lake, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company has tried to sell the property.  Disagreements between Aurora and Bainbridge Township over how to divide tax revenue from future developments on the land have made it difficult.

The city of Aurora gave the Geauga Lake revitalization project a soft confirmation Tuesday, meaning if the money is raised, the city would be interested in reopening the park. Bainbridge Township, on the other hand, is not.

The project currently has no funding deadline. However, if it is unable to happen, Roote said the money will be returned to donors or donated to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

A meeting will be held to discuss the project April 6.

Paige Bennett is a feature writer. Please contact her at [email protected]