Owners of The Beach Waterpark have filed for bankruptcy just weeks after announcing a new operator will take over and reopen the park next year as part of a lease deal.
The Mason water park announced March 9 that it would shut down after 27 years in business, citing “a challenging, competitive and economic climate and changing patron entertainment habits” for the closure.
According to the petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed Monday in U.S. Southern District Court, The Beach at Mason Limited Partnership has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors and owes more than $600,000 to its 20 largest creditors.
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It is unclear how the news will affect a lawsuit filed against The Beach’s owners by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. In May, DeWine sued The Beach’s owners in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, alleging the park violated the state’s Consumer Sales Practices Act.
The suit accused The Beach of “unfair or deceptive acts and practices” for refusing to refund season passes and not giving comparable services.
The Beach owners offered pass-holders discounts of up to $200 at other popular area attractions, but the compensation offered did not constitute “similar goods or services of equal or greater value” as Ohio law requires, DeWine said in May.
“Our litigation is ongoing, and it is too early to determine know what impact the bankruptcy filing will have on our case,” said Dan Tierney, a spokesman with the attorney general’s office.
The Beach’s owners declined to make a statement.
Adventure Holdings LLC, the parent company of Florida-based amusement park chain Adventure Landing, announced last month it will reopen the park in 2013 under a long-term lease deal with the owners of the property that includes an option to purchase the park.
The company, which will reopen the park as The Beach at Adventure Landing, will spend at least $1 million on upgrades on the 35-acre water park, including four new slides, a new children’s area and a new wave pool. Adventure Holdings operates 17 family entertainment centers in seven states.
Season passes for 2012 will be honored next year, which impacts approximately 8,800 customers who were not reimbursed after the park announced in March that it was shutting down.
Honoring the season passes reflects the new operator’s understanding of the public relations fallout after the park closed, which led to 465 complaints with DeWine’s office, said Ralph Vilardo Jr., the park’s new general manager.
The 35-acre, tropical-themed park is the largest standalone water park in Ohio, and featured attractions including the 500-foot water coaster Aztec Adventure, and the 750,000-gallon Kahuna Beach Wavepool.
Since it opened in 1985, The Beach has employed 15,000 people and had 7.5 million visitors, an average of about 275,000 visitors each year.
Enquirer staff reporter Paul McKibben contributed