Playland not expected to open this summer

FRESNO, Calif (KFSN) -- The old Ferris wheel and other attractions won't be going round and round this summer. Playland, which is backed by the local Rotary Club, is broke.

Rotary Club Governor Mike Andritch explained, "Deferred maintenance, our attendance is way below our expenses right now, members of the board have been writing checks to keep it alive, we just did it again this month to pay the PG&E bill."

Because of those issues the decision was made to keep the Playland portion closed. Seasonal workers will not be hired to run the rides. But Aldritch hopes the adjacent Storyland with its fairy tale inspired displays, and perhaps the little train that runs around the park can open before summer.

Andritch said, "There is a chance we can open Storyland"

But it all depends on raising about $150,000 pretty quickly. The board members of Playland and Storyland are hoping the board members of the adjacent Chaffee Zoo can help. Zoo Board Member John Valentino says they would like to see the kiddie park succeed.

"All of us believe it's in the best interest of the zoo and the community for it to be a first class facility and for it to thrive," said Valentino. "How we go from where we are now to that point is very much up in the air."

Valentino says the Zoo board can help with ideas and fundraising strategies, but in terms of providing any money, its hands may be tied because of its taxpayer funded support base, the voter approved Measure Z, can only be used for the Zoo. Andritch says any and all help is needed.

"People of my generation will say we can't let it close because I remember being there as a little boy," said Andritch. "That's great, but is that self-sustaining, we need young families to come out and spend money at the gate and spend money at concessions."

Supporters of Playland and Storyland met on Tuesday to try and come up with a plan to bring the visitors back and raise money to bring the attraction back to life.
They are expected to announce a plan on Wednesday.

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