RYAN TO FANTASY ISLAND OWNER: STOP SELLING OFF RIDES AND HELP FIND A RESPONSIBLE BUYER

Today, February 20, 2020, New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan wrote to Apex Parks Group, the owner of Fantasy Island amusement park on Grand Island, demanding that they stop selling off Fantasy Island rides and start working with local officials to find a responsible buyer for the park. Ryan also demanded that Apex Parks Group refund customers who already purchased season passes for the 2020 season.

Apex Parks Group bought Fantasy Island in 2016. Since their purchase of Fantasy Island, customer complaints have skyrocketed with concerns about parking, inadequate staffing, as well as unsafe and unsanitary conditions. More than 6,000 people signed an online petition demanding refunds for 2018 season passes. It was announced this week that Fantasy Island would be closing, following reports that Apex was selling of rides from the park.

“Irresponsible private equity companies like Apex buy up properties they don’t know how to manage, run them into the ground, then try to score a quick profit by selling off the remnants of their mismanagement,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan. “This same situation is happening in communities across America, and I’m not going to sit by and let Apex get away with their plan to sell out the people of Grand Island and Western New York. This a sucker punch for so many people who counted on jobs at Fantasy Island, and the many families, including my own, who enjoyed it for nearly 60 years. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and work together on a plan to turn this lemon into lemonade for the Grand Island community.”

Apex Parks Group is failing to properly manage amusement parks around the country. Just this week they announced the closing of Indiana Beach and Boardwalk Resort in Monticello Indiana, Texas Go-Kart park SpeedZone in Dallas, and Texas Arcade Boomers in Houston. Fantasy Island opened in 1961 and is a major source of tax revenue and jobs for Grand Island.

“We can’t sugarcoat it — this is bad news for taxpayers and working families for whom Fantasy Island meant a good summer job and a place to take the family on a weekend,” Ryan added. “I’m going to work with the Grand Island community to find new ideas to make the best of this situation. The first step is ensuring Apex does not sell off all the rides, which would prevent a potential new buyer from continuing to operate Fantasy Island as an amusement park.”

A copy of Ryan’s letter appears below.

February 20, 2020

John Fitzgerald

Apex Parks Group

18575 Jamboree Road Suite 600

Irvine, CA 92612

I write today to express my deep concern about the closing of the Fantasy Island amusement park located in Grand Island, NY. We can’t sugarcoat it — this is bad news for taxpayers and working families for whom Fantasy Island meant a good summer job and a place to take the family on a weekend. I am very concerned about reports that Apex Parks Group is selling off rides from Fantasy Island. You should immediately put a stop to this, and work with the Grand Island community to find a responsible buyer for the property. I am also demanding that you refund customers who already purchased season passes for the 2020 season.

Apex Parks Group bought Fantasy Island in 2016. Since this purchase occurred, customer complaints have skyrocketed with concerns about parking, inadequate staffing, as well as unsafe and unsanitary conditions. More than 6,000 people signed an online petition demanding refunds for 2018 season passes. This same situation is happening in communities across America. Just this week your company announced the closing of Indiana Beach and Boardwalk Resort in Monticello Indiana, Texas Go-Kart park SpeedZone in Dallas, and Texas Arcade Boomers in Houston. To me this looks like a situation where an irresponsible private equity company has swooped in to buy up properties they don’t know how to manage, run them into the ground, then tried to score a quick profit by selling off the remnants of your mismanagement. I’m going to work with the Grand Island community to find new ideas to make the best of this situation. The first step is ensuring your company does not sell off all the rides, which would prevent a potential new buyer from continuing to operate Fantasy Island as an amusement park.

This a sucker punch for so many people who counted on jobs at Fantasy Island, and the many families, including my own, who enjoyed it for nearly 60 years. As this process moves forward, you must think of the devastating impact this is having on the people of Grand Island. It’s time to stop selling off the rides and do what is best for the Western New York community. I look forward to hearing from you regarding this important matter.

Sincerely,

Sean M. Ryan