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Clementon Park sold to investors

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From the Courier Post:

 

Clementon Park sold to investors

 

Clementon Park and Splash World, one of the nation's oldest amusement parks, has been sold to an entertainment group led by former Six Flags executives.

They plan to improve the venue, which debuted in 1907 on the banks of Clementon Lake, but revealed no specifics in an announcement made Monday.

The buyers are Kiernan Burke, former Six Flags CEO, and Gary Story, the company's former chief operating officer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are excited about the opportunity to enhance the entertainment value of this historic park that has always enjoyed a strong group-outing business and local market visitation," Burke said in a statement.

The buyers said South Jersey's dense population and the park's repeat customers attracted them to the property.

Clementon Park was founded as a swim club 104 years ago by Theodore Gibbs, a state assemblyman. Over the years, rides and a water park were added to the venue. Recent features include Ring of Fire, a 60-foot, looping roller coaster, and Laguna Kahuna, a five-story, one-acre water playland with a Polynesian theme. Torpedo Rush is the world's tallest dueling trap door speed slide.

Burke and Story have been buying parks since 2009, when they acquired Nashville Shores, a water park and RV resort in Tennessee. Their portfoliio also includes Ocean Breeze Water Park in Virginia Beach. Both those properties were upgraded by the new owners.

At Clementon, the current general manager and group sales manager will lead the transition, the partners said. Plans for improvements will be announced before the 2012 season, Burke and Story said.

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I wouldn't be surprised to see them purchase an older coaster or two. That's how they built up parks like Frontier City, Riverside, Wild World, etc. Buy old coasters, make money, buy new coasters. I expect them to do one of those "what the hell is this amazing coaster doing in this crappy park" purchases at one of their properties in the next few years, just like Chang at Kentucky Kingdom.

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Actually, Ed Hart is solely responsible for "Chang" at Kentucky Kingdom. Premier Parks acquired the Louisville based park the following year.

 

Kieran Burke and Gary Story are not so coincidentally implementing the same playbook used to build Premier Parks. It would be interesting to see them make another move on Six Flags if the credit market recovers.

Edited by Thunderbolt

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I thought the same thing. I'm doubting the current owners are in for the long haul, and will jump at the chance to sell at the right price.

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From Screamscape:

Quote

icon_STOPPark News - (9/20/19) Something’s apparently not right with Clementon Park. Currently the park’s website says that they are closed for the season, where the park’s last day of operations was on Sept. 8th, 2019. However an odd new story surfaced the other day about a family who had bought tickets online weeks ago for a special priced last-day of the season “Appreciation Day” event set for Sunday, Sept. 15th. Guests who bought tickets and traveled to the park were met with a closed sign and security guards telling them that the park was closed for the season. 


    While I’m unable to pull up any kind of previous operational calendar that may have been posted earlier this year, I’ve heard elsewhere that the park normally used to run their season into late September or even October in years past, so this early closing is already a bit strange. 


    Today I received a report from an anonymous source that telling us that on Monday park owner Kieran Burke arrived on site and gathered all of the park’s year-round Full-Time staff and informed everyone that they were being let go, and final checks were handed out. According to this source, at the start of the season the park’s schedule had them open as late as October 19th, but that date was suddenly pushed up just a few weeks ago. 


    And while the Clementon Park website is still up and running, the park’s Twitter account has suddenly been changed to a “protected” status, where only those approved can see their tweets. The park’s Instagram account has officially been closed/removed, and even the park’s Facebook page appears to have been deleted. 


    For all intents and purposes, Clementon Park appears to be NO MORE. But is it closed for good? Or perhaps we have to ask if the park in the middle of being sold to a new owner… or even a land developer? The fact that the website isn’t even trying to sell 2020 Season Passes really is telling. If anyone knows more about what is going on, please let us know.

 

http://screamscape.com/html/smaller_parks.htm#Clementon

 

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I am guessing this is going to be redeveloped as a residential project.  Firing all of the full time employees indicates that this will not continue to operate as an amusement park.

 

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I feel bad for the employees losing their jobs and for anyone who liked the park/visited frequently. I visited the park once when I was a kid and remember it being horrible. I never had any interest in returning even though I had not ridden any coasters there.

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I couldn’t be less surprised about this. The park was awful and run down as hell. If it doesn’t continue as a park, then good riddance. 

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At this point, this is more valuable as nearly anything OTHER than an amusement park. I would not be surprised to see residential development spring up here. It's a shame to lose all the history of this place, but it's not even as if management had cared one bit about that kind of stuff (or anything, really).

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It would be nice if Clementon Park becomes bought by someone that wants to reopen the park even though it's a run down glorified carnival. The park has a lot of history and a lot of memories among several generations. While residential development may look like a nice replacement considering it's right next to a lake, Clementon and its surrounding towns that all share the 08021 zipcode aren't very nice areas to live in especially for families.

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Its sad to see it close, but not surprising. I have not been there in about 20 years. Last time I was there it was pretty worn down then. 

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