The Blue Streak roller coaster is still on life support, and has a chance to back in service in 2015.
A sheriff sale scheduled for Dec. 5 was halted after the Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States District Bankruptcy Court in Erie. The park was scheduled to go to sheriff sale for approximately $930,000 in back taxes and fees. The bankruptcy filing stops the sale process and will allow the park trustees to present a plan to Bankruptcy Court Judge Thomas Agresti that it can sustain the park and pay its creditors.
“It was the only option we have left to keep the park viable,” Bill Bragg, chairman of the Conneaut Lake Park Trustees, told The Meadville Tribune. “We were forced into it.”
A reorganization plan is due to be presented to Judge Agresti by April 3.
Documents filed with the bankruptcy petition estimate Conneaut Lake Park has between 50 and 99 creditors, assets between $1 million and $10 million, and liabilities between $1 million and $10 million. The Trustees estimate there will be money available to pay its unsecured creditors, who are owed more than $347,000.
The Chapter 11 filing came a day after Crawford County President Judge Anthony Vardaro rejected the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s efforts to halt the sheriff sale.
The Attorney General’s petition claimed that, because the park is run by a tax-exempt board, it should not have been taxed and, if Conneaut Lake Park were sold at a sheriff’s sale, the buyer would have to continue to operate as a non-profit organization.
With Judge Vardaro’s ruling clearing the path for a sheriff sale, the Conneaut Lake Park trustees felt filing the Chapter 11 petition was their best option to saving the facility. The Trustees could have resigned, turning the park to control of the county court or directly to the sheriff sale.
“From a business standpoint, it’s the right procedure,” said Trustee executive director Mark Turner. “We’ve been preparing for this for a while.”