Thursday, April 19, 2007

Putting a Price on Whalom Park

The following is an excerpt from inparknews

by Bill St.Yves

I can’t put a price on the value of Whalom Park. Unfortunately, a developer can.

Recently it was announced that the land Whalom Park is on has finally been sold after the park has sat abandoned since 2000. Condos will be built there, and there will be no more Whalom Park. I’ve watched so many smaller parks close – Miracle Strip most recently – and I can’t help but think, how can you put a price on these places? They are more than real estate. They are more than a bunch of rides and games and buildings. They are the history of this industry. Without the trolley parks and pleasure gardens of the 20’s & 30’s there would be no Disney, no Six Flags, no Universal Studios. I’m thankful for the traditional parks that have survived and thrived like Cedar Point and Kennywood. There are not that many traditional old parks left and many of them may be one high bid away from becoming another set of town homes.

Traditional old parks are of huge value to us as an industry. We can look to them for ideas and proven concepts that have worked longer than some other parks have been open. They are a training ground for tomorrow’s industry leaders. They bring us back to a time when you didn’t have to be the tallest and the fastest to still have a good time. But most importantly, they help us see where we have come from. The problem is the land these parks sit on is more valuable as real estate than as a safe place for families to go and spend some quality time together. If we don’t value (and visit) our old parks, someone else – someone with other intentions – will. - BILL ST. YVES


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