The first steps in development around Conneaut Lake Park approved Tuesday evening with Summit Township supervisors in Crawford County accepting an application for subdivision at the park's Camperland.

Questions about this land and the park’s future remain unanswered, as current park owner, Todd Joseph, did not attend the meeting. 

Residents continue to worry about the future of the community. “The park affects our tax base, and functions like the Pumpkin Fest bring in thousands of people and also thousands of dollars,” resident Gigi Beatty said to supervisors. Beatty also attending the meeting as a representative of the Historic Coaster Foundation, a group advocating for amusement park preservation.

Approval by the township of the subdivision does not give clearance for Keldon Holdings, the limited liability company that owns the park, to build anything on the property. It simply will assign a Tax ID and make the Camperland area its own parcel of land. It will also give a foundation for future development.

Still, many residents are upset at the lack of communication between the 129-year-old park's owner and community members. “His intentions are not only not clear to the taxpayer. His intentions were not clear with the planning commission. Like I said, usually his surveyor comes here for him, and the questions we have don't get answered,” Rhonda Jaquay said as she expressed continuing frustrations.

Nearby residents are also worried about if, logistically, the property can sustain new development.

A decades-old water tower, owned by Joseph, feeds the neighborhood of cottages and homes adjacent to the park and would presumably feed future homes. Residents report several outages and pipe breaks that take weeks to be fixed. “We all get service from the water tower. The water's probably been down 12 times. Shut completely off,” said Jaquay.

However, the township says the water isn’t anything they have control over.

In addition, Summit communicated to residents they have had issues with transparency with past owners of Conneaut Lake Park, but Todd Joseph has been forthcoming with supervisors and has applied for all proper permits.

Not all local residents are fighting future plans. “We have to accept the fact that he owns it. Just like if you have a piece of property and a house, you can do whatever you want that’s legal on that piece of property,” former Conneaut Lake Park Board of Trustee member and resident, Tim Weber, said at the meeting.

Many at the gathering strongly disagree and say there are too many issues that need to be resolved before development should move forward. “Everything needs to stop until everything is figured out with the legality of what he's doing to the park. The history of our area is at stake here,” said Beatty.

Township supervisors say the application approval can be appealed for the next 30 days through the courts.