CARVER – When will the Edaville family theme park be back?
This is the question that preoccupies Carver Select board members, South Shore families and hundreds of commentators on the theme park’s Facebook page.
Michael Milanoski, chairman of Grafton and Upton Railroad Company, a company that shares an owner with Edaville, said on Friday they hoped to have more information by the end of the month and that the opening is slated this year.
“We are working on our reopening plan and staffing. It takes time to prepare the park,” said Milanoski.
He said he couldn’t give an exact date when the park opened.
Under the state’s COVID-19 reopening protocols, theme parks were allowed to open in May. Six Flags of New England opened on May 15 and Water Wizz in Wareham resumed operations on June 19. A May 24 post on Edaville’s Facebook page said they were “analyzing the investments needed so that we can plan accordingly for what normally takes up to 60 days to open the park.”
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“To provide a wonderful and memorable experience for your children at our family theme park, a lot goes into reopening, including property preparation, working with Mattel, stocking restaurants, re-inspecting the rides as well as hiring / re-hiring and training our employees to deliver the experience you expect, “the statement read. “We will be opening for our Christmas Lights Festival this fall and if we can open earlier, we will.”
Several phone calls and emails sent to Edaville staff, management and property were not answered. Journalists who visited the park on Thursday and Sunday saw no one there. There are no chairs on Big Eli, the park’s Ferris wheel, and there is no water in the fountains. A portable metal door was installed in front of the main entrance, along with a long piece of yellow rope. In the distance, a red caboose and an idling locomotive could be seen on the property.
On Sunday morning, the vast parking lot was empty except for four cars, unloading bikes and their riders dressed in neon green riding gear.
Inside the park there was no movement except the rustle of leaves on the trees and a single man sitting on a silent, still riding mower.
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Carver City Administrator Richard LaFond said park officials have had no recent interaction with the city, but Edaville does not need any formal green light or additional approval. from the city.
“It’s purely up to them when they open up,” LaFond said.
The ticket purchase section on the amusement park website is also not working. Edaville’s May updates on Facebook sparked hundreds of comments ranging from anger to disappointment, and calls from others to slack off the park a bit.
“Basically, you say you don’t plan to open this summer? Aren’t you doing it just for the Festival of Lights? It’s really sad! Hope you reopen sooner,” he said. said a commentator. “My kid keeps asking when we can go. I also wish you had more transparency for those of us who have kept tickets.”
Another comment applauded the patient approach.
“I’d rather see them focus on a safe reopening than rushing in just for people to go this summer,” one user said.
Many have commented on Edaville’s long history of financial troubles. It was on the verge of closure before and was closed for over seven years in the 1990s. Prior to that, it was embroiled in disputes between the rail operator and the owner.
The amusement park was hit with a tax lien last October for nearly $ 39,000 in unpaid tax arrears dating back to 2016.
Edaville Railroad opened in 1947 under the ownership of cranberry grower Ellis D. Atwood. (The park’s name begins with Atwood’s initials.) The railroad was used to harvest cranberries and take tourists through bogs. Jon Delli Priscoli has brought the park back to life after financial difficulties. He bought Edaville as a group in 2001, but is the sole owner today, following other changes of ownership, bankruptcy and foreclosure in the mid-2000s. Delli Priscoli also owns the 250 acres on which the theme park is located. He is a real estate developer in addition to a theme park and owner of an industrial rail.
Edaville, a holdover from an earlier era when small family theme parks dotted New England, is one of the last of its kind. Gone are places like King’s Castle Land in Whitman, Whalom Park in Lunenburg and Paragon Park in Hull.
In 2015, Edaville made a splash by teaming up with Mattell and opening a $ 25 million Thomas the Tank Engine section of the park called “Thomas Land”. The year before, he had opened a dinosaur-themed section of the park, aptly called “Dino Land”.
The website lists ticket prices at $ 39 with discounts available for military and senior citizens.
This story has been updated to correct the location of Water Wizz, which is in Wareham.
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