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Owner: Big Dipper will be demolished now

2:39 PM, Sep 14, 2010   |    comments
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In a brief email sent through his representative, the owner wrote: "I am the owner of THE BIG DIPPER (sic) roller coaster in Aurora, Ohio. I have determined that the deadline for the sale of The Big Dipper cannot be met. I have decided to demolish the Dipper and end the existence of this wonderful roller coaster. This is a painful but necessary decision."

The deadline had been set for Sept. 15.

Sandusky-based Cedar Fair closed Geauga Lake's amusement park in September 2007, leaving its Geauga Lake Wildwater Kingdom in operation.

It sent some of the amusement park rides to its other parks, sold some of its rides to other parks, then held an on-site auction for the remaining rides and artifacts.

The park sprawls across both Bainbridge and Aurora. Some of the other rides that were up for auction included: the Double Loop coaster; two SkipperLiner paddle wheel boats; the Intamin Space Tower; the Chance Pirate Ship; the Eli Scrambler; the Raging Wolf Bobs coaster; the Mack Himalaya; and the Sansel Flume.

The owner, who remained anonymous, had an agent buy the Big Dipper for him during Cedar Fair's on-site auction of the rides and artifacts at the park on June 18, 2008.

The Big Dipper sits on land located in Bainbridge in Geauga County, according to land records.

Since Cedar Fair has yet to sell the park's land for re-development, it has allowed the Big Dipper to remain standing on the site.

After the auction, the owner had offered the Big Dipper for re-sale on several coaster sites and, most recently, on eBay.

After the eBay auction closed last week, he set Sept. 15 as the deadline for another buyer to come forward and buy the Big Dipper from him or he would have to go forward with demolishing it.

While the Big Dipper was on eBay, the owner answered questions posted on the site.

He said he had a deep love of the Dipper and had ridden it with the girl who would later become his wife and that was his reason for trying to save it.

Sandusky-based Cedar Fair owns amusement parks and attractions all over the United States.

As of late last week, neither Bainbridge Township nor the City of Aurora had approved a demolition permit for the Big Dipper. Cedar Fair still owns the land under the structure.

Cedar Fair was contacted for comment.

CedarPoint/Geauga Lake Wildwater Kingdom spokesman Robin Innes said, "Cedar Fair does not own the ride. We have not been notified about any plans to demolish the ride. We have not received any information about any complaints about the upkeep of the property."

Innes added that the property is still available for sale for re-development.

The Big Dipper opened in 1925, after being designed and built by John Miller at a cost of $50,000, and was first called the Sky Rocket. In the late 1940s, its name was changed to the Clipper.

In 1969, park officials renamed it The Big Dipper. In 1980, the Big Dipper was completely rebuilt. Its trains have four cars with three rows each, seating two abreast per row.

The sign on the entrance to the Dipper still reads: You must be at least 48 inches tall to ride this ride.

Ironically, the announcement of the pending demolition comes on the same day that two other Cedar Fair parks were honored by the trade publication Amusement Today.

Amusement Today named Cedar Point in Sandusky the overall best amusement park for the 13th straight year.

The industry newspaper announced the winners of its annual Golden Ticket Awards, based on a survey of people described as "experienced and well-traveled" amusement park fans around the world.

Awards have been given in 25 categories. Cedar Point also took the prize for best steel coaster, for its Millennium Force. Kings Island amusement park in southwest Ohio won the award for best kids' area.

WKYC-TV

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