BAINBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — It’s been idle for years but thrilled riders for decades.
The Big Dipper at Geauga Lake is being demolished this week. Drone video taken by Drone Ohio captured the demolition from above.
Cedar Fair closed Geauga Lake in 2007, but the Big Dipper had since remained standing.
In a statement, a Cedar Fair spokesperson said: “We have worked cooperatively with the City of Aurora and Bainbridge Township to preserve select artifacts from the ride. There are no other plans to sell, relocate or salvage the structure at this time.”
Bainbridge Township trustee Jeff Markley said the company based its decision partly on the fact that the coaster has attracted trespassers that climb its structure, posing a safety hazard.
“We all have memories, and I think that’s the hard part, that we are losing those memories,” Markley said. “At the end of the day it was kind of predetermined that it was going to come down. One, it’s an attractive nuisance for Cedar Fair the owner. It was also probably in the way of potential development.”
Cedar Fair closed Wild Water Kingdom on the Aurora side of the property in September after announcing plans to expand the water park at Cedar Point in Sandusky.
Bainbridge Township and Aurora are working with Cedar Fair to develop a master plan for development of the 600-acre property. Elements of the property, such as marshes, leftover cement, a railroad easement, distance from highways and its location within multiple municipalities pose a challenge for potential developers.
“It’s one less piece that somebody has to worry about, but it’s just one piece. There’re so many other things on that site a developer is going to have to work through,” Markley said.
The property is zoned for mixed use development, and local officials favor a commercial center that allows for someone to live, work and play over big box stores or a retirement community. However, Markley said plans for development of a Meijer superstore on one parcel of the property are still on track.
“We’ve always said we want economic development, we want something that will be a catalyst for that area,” Markley said.
Markley said the township is working to salvage pieces of the coaster that could be auctioned to benefit local organizations or provide scholarships for students.