Theme park fans will be paying more to visit Cedar Point next year as a result of two new tax increases. The City of Sandusky and Cedar Point owner Cedar Fair have revealed a plan that will use increased admission taxes and a parking tax to pay for up to $100 million in improvements in the city over the next 20 years.
One of those improvements will be a rebuilt causeway into the park, which will include a dedicated lane for pedestrians. That lane will become an extension of the Sandusky Bay Pathway, which the new taxes also are helping to fund.
The Sandusky Register detailed the agreement. Additional improvements include a new water taxi service between downtown Sandusky and Cedar Point, a new recreation center in the city with a focus on youth programming, support for programming at the Sandusky State Theatre, and additional money for local streets, as well as for the local parks, police, and fire departments.
Cedar Point will get naming rights to the community center and the Sandusky State Theatre auditorium, and Cedar Fair agrees to retain a corporate presence in Sandusky as part of the deal.
To pay for the improvements, the city's admission tax will double from four to eight percent, with the addition of an 8% parking tax on cars entering Cedar Point. Those taxes are expected to raise an additional $4.5 million a year for the city, according to city officials.
Cedar Point typically attracts more than three million visitors a year during its season from May through October, though many of those fans are visiting on season passes, so they would not be paying the admission tax or parking tax on each trip to the park.
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The increased Cedar Fair support of the Sandusky State Theater is a major thing for Sandusky. A freak tornado in June 2020 destroyed the entire stage house, including the proscenium arch and the front of the orchestra, leaving the beautiful chandeliers hanging exposed to the street behind the theater. It's being rebuilt, but insurance never pays for everything. This support of the theater must be a significant contribution to something that is a major part of the Sandusky cultural scene.
Lots of locals have talked about wanting to have a pedestrian (and I assume a bicycle) lane access to the Point and the beach. I can't find exactly how long the present causeway is, but looking at it on Google Maps and knowing that it is about 1 mile from the front gate to the back of the park, I'd say that the length of the causeway is closer to somewhere between1 and 2 miles. Regardless, I suspect that they wouldn't put a pedestrian lane in if they hadn't done the research and decided that it would be utilized by the locals.
My first thought is I really want to see how many people staying at Breakers Express make the trek across the causeway to avoid paying the $15 for parking. That is a loooooong walk, especially after being in the park all day. I would totally do it but I can't see my wife being on board with that haha. Especially with the noise and emissions from all of those cars going by.
The second thing that jumps out at me is "Cedar Fair will maintain a corporate presence in Sandusky." What does that even mean? Does that mean Cedar Fair used "if you don't give us what we want we're going to move" like sports owners do with stadiums? I read a while back that Sandusky was concerned CF was moving so many jobs to Charlotte that it was going to move its corporate HQ, so maybe they wanted to make it a condition of the deal that CF keeps its headquarters in Sandusky.
The whole thing is weird because its well known in the industry that at this point Charlotte basically is CF's defacto corporate headquarters regardless of what the physical address is. Right now they have 11 corporate job openings posted in Charlotte and 1 in Sandusky. So how many corporate jobs do they plan on adding in Sandusky? My inkling is probably none...they just plan on having the official corporate office there to keep the city happy for this deal. I hope someone that knows more about the details of this can chime in.
In regards to the meat of the deal itself it looks like its going to be funded by raising taxes on visitors which seems reasonable. Here in Orlando our tourist tax goes entirely to sports stadiums, the convention center, and marketing.
When I went to the US a few years ago I was surprised at how difficult it is getting to some of the big parks without a car. I've never been to Cedar Point, but Magic Mountain was a nightmare. There were only a few trains a day from Downtown LA. I then had to walk across some desert area with signs saying, 'Warning: Snakes'. Finally I had to walk along the verge next to what felt like a busy highway.
As the Causeway addition will be designated as an extension of the Sandusky Bay Pathway — a multi-use waterfront path that will stretch for some 13 miles when complete — I'd hope that CP is planning on developing a more dedicated bike parking area for locals who want to ride to the park. Should also be a nice diversion for locals that want to continue their ride along the lake.
I think this is awesome! Living in Florida now I can't drive to Cedar Point. I have to fly into Cleveland, Uber to Cedar Point then find a way to get in the next day. My plan was to Uber into the park in the morning (and had a scheduled ride) but even on a Saturday morning there were NONE available. I was staying at Breakers Express, assuming since it's a Cedar Fair property that they'd have some way to get to the park. I think the easier fix would be to have a shuttle from the hotel like every other theme park hotel on Earth. But they don't so I ended up having to call a taxi to get over and they charge $7+ per person for a shared ride and more when the park is open. My backup plan for no ride share availability WAS to walk but they told me it's illegal. I literally made a whole video about it on YouTube I was so upset. Lol maybe they saw it. And I'm sure I'm not the only one that had this experience.
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my general philosophy on this is that it's a good thing for places like this to care more about locals than tourists, so this seems Good (or maybe Just Fine). but what caught my eye is the addition (or perhaps renovation of an existing) pedestrian segment to the causeway.
i really want that to be a good and useful thing (again, philosophically) but uh... running the route from a nearby hotel to the front gate ... https://imgur.com/IUYkqU2 ... that's a long walk, folks! (about 4 miles for those not interested in the visual). i'm not sure how expensive parking would have to be for me to want to do that walk, but sufficed to say: more. i'm all for reducing reliance on car traffic, but i'm not about to call this "walkable."