GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB)–Assemblyman Sean Ryan stated today he wrote to the owner of Fantasy Island, Apex Parks Group, asking them to stop selling the rides and work with local officials to find a buyer.
“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 Ryan.
Apex bought the park in 2016.
Reports of the park rides being sold and the park closing surfaced earlier this week and was officially announced on Wednesday.
“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.
Below is a copy of the letter Ryan sent to Apex:
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.
Sean M. Ryan
Member of Assembly