The next 60 days should tell quite a bit about the future of Conneaut Lake Park.
Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Jeffrey Deller has ordered the four taxing bodies of the amusement park and the non-profit corporation that operates it to select a mediator and conduct meetings within the next 60 days in search of a resolution to the Chapter 11 Conneaut Lake bankruptcy case.
The taxing bodies (Conneaut School District, Crawford County, Sadsbury Township and Summit Township) want to close the park and sell its assets to recoup as much of the estimated $1.03 million in back taxes that is owed.
The Conneaut Lake Park Trustees want to use insurance proceeds from an August, 2013 fire that destroyed the park’s Beach Club along with the sale of surrounding land that is not necessary to the operation of the park to settle the debt.
Deller ruled the taxing bodies will be paid $478,000 of a $611,000 insurance settlement on the Park Beach fire. The operator of the Beach Club, Park Restoration, LLC, will receive $133,000. An official for Park Restoration, LLC said it will appeal Deller’s ruling.
Throughout the hearing, Deller noted the economic potential that Conneaut Lake Park could bring to the area.
“I see no reason why mediation can’t be done,” Deller said. “I am a little befuddled why the interests aren’t aligned here. I would assume Crawford County doesn’t want to have tumbleweeds going through Conneaut Lake Park.”
Deller told the attorneys involved in the Conneaut Lake bankruptcy proceeding to meet and agree on selecting a mediator in the next two weeks.