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August 2, 2001

New Wooden Coaster For Waldameer Park Delayed

Erie, PA -- Waldameer Park faces another road block in the park's effort to build a new wooden roller coaster to help it compete with the larger amusement parks in the region.

The state capital recently made a decision to study the Lake Erie shoreline in Erie County. The state needs to decide what land falls under a coastal protection law before any development may occur.

Paul Nelson, owner of Waldameer Park claims that his new Ravine Flyer II roller coaster is necessary to draw crowds to his park. According to Nelson the park cannot survive without it.

Nelson sought approval from the Millcreek Township to construct the new coaster on a five-acre site, part of which would be on a lake bluff above Presque Isle State Park. The $4 million roller coaster project would become the flagship attraction at the historic park.

Neighboring owners of a campground opposed the project claiming that a state law protecting the bluff prohibits the park from building the coaster. The owners of the campground do not want a coaster built in their backyard.

Nelson's request for a construction permit from the Millcreek Township was met with opposition. Faced with making a difficult decision, Millcreek officials sought help from the state's Environmental Quality Board.

To respond to Millcreek's request for clarification on the land use the board decided to study the shoreline in Erie County thus delaying Waldameer's request for a construction permit. According to the state the last study was conducted in 1975. The new study may take several months to complete and may have a big impact on future development in eight lakefront townships.