Medina County Park District unveils plans for former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park

·3 min read
A tree grows through the middle of the Ferris wheel at the old Chippewa Lake Park on April 1, 2009, in Chippewa Lake Village.
A tree grows through the middle of the Ferris wheel at the old Chippewa Lake Park on April 1, 2009, in Chippewa Lake Village.

Sorry, thrill seekers.

There are no plans to resurrect the Chippewa Lake Wild Mouse or Little Dipper roller coasters.

But the master plan unveiled Monday by the Medina County Park District for the old amusement park does include the fabled Ferris Wheel.

Well sort of.

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The county's plan that will be implemented over years — not months — primarily focuses on the park's natural aspects. It can be viewed at https://medinacountyparks.com/index.php/parks/chippewa-lake-master-plan.

But the plan does include some nods to its past as a place where generations would go to escape the doldrums of life.

Chippewa Lake Park owner Parker Beach stands in front of the park's rollercoaster.
Chippewa Lake Park owner Parker Beach stands in front of the park's rollercoaster.

The park was a popular destination for weekend trips and company picnics from 1878 to 1978.

In its heyday, the park had cottages, amusement rides, food stands, games and a hotel.

The ballroom hosted the likes of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo and Lawrence Welk.

Some 20,000 people converged on the park over the Fourth of July weekend in 1892, and a later traffic jam for an Akron tire maker's company picnic stretched for miles.

Chippewa Lake History: Just like a carousel, Parker Beach’s life revolved around Chippewa Lake Park.

To help keep these memories alive, the park district's long-range goal includes using the skeletal remains of the Ferris wheel as a sculpture in the middle of a traffic circle in the park.

The park district has been consulting for months with OHM Advisors and gathering input from the public to map out a master plan for the 95-acre amusement park property.

Defunct northern Ohio parks: The parks are long gone but the memories of Chippewa Lake and Geauga Lake live on.

Fires and nature have reclaimed much of the park over the years since its closing in 1978 with few remnants left of the bygone era.

There have been some plans over the years to redevelop the park but those never came to fruition.

The park district purchased the former amusement park from Chippewa Lake Properties Inc. in June 2020 for $2.1 million.

The park district has said its goal is allow some type of public access by 2025.

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Plans for Chippewa Lake Park

The overall plans for the lake include dredging the lake, addressing flooding concerns, improving the shoreline, enhancing swimming and boating access and making trail improvements.

Phase 1 of the work at the former amusement park has a price tag of nearly $300,000 and includes a new western hiking trail loop along with a separate primitive trail. This work would be completed within five years.

The second phase to be completed in years 5 to 10 includes an entry drive and parking area.

This nearly $700,000 phase includes more trails, lawn restoration and an interpretive plaza, along with picnic tables and interpretive signage.

The Ferris wheel sculpture and other amenities would come in later phases.

Some of the possible future plans would include a pavilion, a lakefront amphitheater, restrooms, a snack shack, an observation tower, an arcade block, a nature play area incorporating elements from the park's old Bug Ride and a sled hill.

Craig Webb can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com.

Geauga Lake revisted: Vintage photos of lost amusement park

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Medina County Park District unveils plans for old Chippewa Lake Park