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December 6, 2007

Senator Asks Cedar Fair To Save Historic Roller Coaster

Aurora, OH -- The recent closure of the Geauga Lake amusement park in Aurora has prompted US Senator Sherrod Brown to urge Cedar Fair to preserve a piece of roller coaster history.

In a letter addressed to Cedar Fair chairman and chief executive officer Dick Kinzel, Brown asked that the company develop a plan for Geauga Lake's historic Big Dipper roller coaster. He is hoping that Cedar Fair is willing to keep the ride at its current location or have it moved to another site where it can continue to operate.

"Such an important and rare piece of Ohio and amusement park history deserves the utmost consideration as Cedar Fair develops plans for the property," wrote Brown.

In September, Cedar Fair announced that it would close the amusement park portion of Geauga Lake forever. However, the company plans to keep the new $25 million water park located across from the rides open.

Cedar Fair has reported a huge decrease in attendance at the property since purchasing Geauga Lake from Six Flags in 2004.

Representatives for the American Coaster Enthusiasts were excited about the letter from Brown. The group has been hoping and trying to save the 82-year-old roller coaster.

Cedar Fair has already relocated four of Geauga Lake's steel roller coasters to its other parks, but the three wooden roller coasters remain. The Big Dipper, The Villain and Raging Wolf Bobs roller coasters are all currently up for sale.

Brown would like to see the Big Dipper remain in its current location. He is urging Cedar Fair to preserve it as is.

"Ideally, keeping The Big Dipper in its Aurora, Ohio, home would be preferable -- perhaps by including the coaster as part of a mixed-use retail and amusement complex or as part of a classic amusement park museum", wrote Brown. "However, as Cedar Fair makes final decisions on the future of the Dipper, I strongly urge against destroying or scrapping this unique piece of Buckeye State history."

The Big Dipper roller coaster opened in 1925 under the name Sky Rocket. Originally named the Sky Rocket, the name was later changed to Clipper and eventually changed again to Big Dipper in 1969. Designed by John Miller, Big Dipper is one of only 13 surviving rides of its kind in the world.

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