Cedar Point fans should see little change, Cedar Fair boss says

From the Sandusky Register

Take a deep breath, Cedar Point fans.

Cedar Fair’s CEO said Thursday visitors to the amusement park won’t notice many changes under new ownership.

“If we didn’t announce this, more than likely the public wouldn’t even know it took place,” Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel said.

The park will complete work on its new attraction for 2010, the Shoot the Rapids water ride, and investment in the park will continue, Kinzel said. There will be no effect on ticket holders.

“We have about $90 million planned for capital next year across our 11 properties,” Kinzel said, referring to Cedar Fair’s spending for rides and improvements at its amusement parks in the U.S. and Canada, including Cedar Point. “None of that is going to be disrupted.”

He said he also plans to go forward with upgrading a section of Hotel Breakers. Work on that section, built in 1926, was supposed to be done last year but was postponed.

“This is our crown jewel,” Kinzel said, referring to Cedar Point. “This is where the majority of the capital investment goes.”

Kinzel said the company still has a tremendous population base in Ohio and 17 roller coasters at Cedar Point — more than anywhere else.

The park markets to about 22 million people.

“Hopefully, when the economy turns around, we’ll get back to the attendance numbers we were at back in the mid-90s,” he said.

Kinzel said he doesn’t think Cedar Fair’s new owners will force employee cuts that would impact service to visitors at Cedar Point.

“We had to make a lot of cuts during the operating season and there will be no cuts, no staffing changes as a result of this merger,” he said. “There’s really no other means of cutting without jeopardizing service or quality. That’s a point I’m going to stress today with our employees.”

All contracts will be fulfilled for vendors who do business with Cedar Point, he said.

Cedar Point will also continue to be involved in the community and be an asset to the city, he said.

Kinzel said he expects Apollo will allow Cedar Fair to continue investing in Cedar Point, keeping the amusement park fresh and exciting.

“Hopefully we can grow Cedar Point, bring more people in and continue to add rides and attractions,” Kinzel said. “I know we’re going to have to add rides and attractions, because this is a capital-intensive business.”

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