What's next for the Geauga Lake property? Future plans are hitting a road block

Posted at 8:13 AM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 08:17:09-04

Plans to redevelop a once popular piece of real estate in Northeast Ohio just hit a major roadblock.

It's yet another setback to bring new life to Geauga Lake as two communities currently battle it out over money generated from the future development.

An income tax revenue debate currently brewing between Bainbridge Township and Aurora is just one of the issues that's bringing movement to a screeching halt.

Like the mighty coasters that once stood on the site, there are a lot of ups and downs when it comes to redeveloping Geauga Lake.

"Sometimes you're at the top and think it's going well and other times we're at the bottom," said Tracy Jemison from Geauga Growth Partnership.

Momentum, now stalling, as a deal to open a Meijer store on 41 acres hits an impasse.

"Without an agreement both sides are gonna lose," said Jemison.

Bainbridge Township and Aurora leaders have yet to agree on how much income tax money each will collect from the proposed development.

"I know everything always comes down to money," said Trish Wade.

The Bainbridge Township resident tells News 5 she is tired of all the delays.

"I wish something would be done with it even if it was making it into a park of some sort, a green space of some kind," said Wade.

News 5 learned of another blow for the Meijer deal. Bainbridge Township is not being allowed to tap into Aurora's water and sewer lines for the project to move forward.

Also, a brand new study done by students at Cleveland State University's Urban Affairs department shows this area cannot support any new retail.

"With Target and Walmart there we don't need any more big box stores," said Wade.

Local business owner Hung Tran agrees.

"I think what would work in this area would be commercial/residential," said Tran.

Up until a few weeks ago, Cedar Fair, which owns the site, has been trying to sell off Geauga Lake on its own. Now the company has hired Hanna Commercial to market the property.

It's a property the Geauga Growth Partnership would like to see go Hollywood.

"We still think this is a great location to locate some movie studios, put some back lot operations there. I think that would provide the greatest economic impact in that area," said Jemison.

Despite the Meijer setback, there is some good news for Geauga Lake. Liberty Ford is under contract to open a dealership on 13 acres on the Aurora side.

597 acres remain listed at $12.5 million dollars.

"Kind of wonder what's going to happen next," said Tran.

Bainbridge Township and Aurora leaders will get together again next week to hash out a joint economic district.

A Spokesperson with Hanna Commercial tells News 5 there is demand for supplemental retail, but not any additional big box stores.

They also said after a decade of sitting vacant Cedar Fair wants to "move the property."