Stricker's Grove 08-12-2018

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sharo...@hotmail.com

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Aug 16, 2018, 7:44:40 PM8/16/18
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Just a few notes from this year's Stricker's Grove Family Day.

The park is now no smoking, no vaping, except in the horseshoe pits to the left of the front entrance. A HUGE improvement over past years.

Tornado has a lot of new wood - the majority of the track, and 100% of the wood between the rails. However, it's really rough at the bottom of the first drop. No seats roped off in the train this year.

They have a Moser frog hopper, Freefall, that has not operated for most of this season. They are having problems with the circuit board and some other parts. They need to send them back to Moser but haven't been able to do it yet. Tim Stricker said that he'd take the parts down to the IAAPA convention this year just to hand them over, if he could.

Their Ferris wheel has been almost completely rebuilt, and now is very smooth. From what we could tell, only the cars and the blue interior boards with the lights are original.

The forecast called for scattered storms, and some blew through abound 3:00. They shut down all of the taller rides due to threat of lightning. There were some very loud thunder bangs at times, but not more than a handful. We got a chance to talk to Tim Stricker, one of the owners, as we waited for the Ferris Wheel. We chose to wait out the storm in the line while under a very full tree that would block most of the rain. It was fun once it did start up again, about 25 minutes after we got in line.

Lots of maintenance has gone on this past year - buildings have been given paint jobs, and they've been working on a lot of the rides. All of the broken light bulbs (from getting hit by the Flyers) are fixed on Tornado. They're doing good business and are thinking of bringing in some more rides. Tim said that one thing they might do is adjust the mini-golf course so they can take out the Freefall and add a new ride there.

On the way there, we drove past the old Americana site. Butler Tech has taken over Couch's showroom, and they've built a new building just to the west of it. Most of the old amusement park buildings seem to be standing, but there is construction equipment around them like they are tearing things down slowly. The main buildings at the front of the park are still standing, but probably not for long. Some of the old Fantasy Farm buildings are in the middle of being demolished. The ultimate plans are for a nature park, so maybe we (Miami Valley Orienteering Club) will map it and then we'll have maps of 2 parks that used to have amusement parks. The other being Possum Creek MetroPark, which used to be the Argonne Forest amusement park.

Sharon

surfd...@aol.com

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Aug 17, 2018, 8:53:41 AM8/17/18
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Are they planning to keep anything at all from Americana?

sharo...@hotmail.com

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Aug 17, 2018, 1:26:26 PM8/17/18
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On Friday, August 17, 2018 at 8:53:41 AM UTC-4, surfd...@aol.com wrote:
> Are they planning to keep anything at all from Americana?

No, it's all going to be torn down. Butler Tech has the "front" part of the property, which is the parking lot, entrance, the rides part of Americana, and the Fantasy Farm acreage. The city of Monroe gets the "back" part, which they are planning to turn into the park. There is supposed to be an easement through the Butler Tech property to connect the park to Route 4.

Sharon

Marshall

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Aug 20, 2018, 8:41:33 AM8/20/18
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Thats too bad. Losing the eagle was bad enough, but that flume was the best(and wettest) I ever rode.

Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Aug 20, 2018, 10:37:39 PM8/20/18
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sharo...@hotmail.com wrote:
Any plans to bring back LeSourdsville Lake? I know it was a man-made
swimming hole to begin with, and I know it was drained a few years back...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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sharo...@hotmail.com

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Aug 22, 2018, 12:17:21 PM8/22/18
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On Monday, August 20, 2018 at 10:37:39 PM UTC-4, Dave Althoff, Jr. wrote:
> sharo...@hotmail.com wrote:
> : On Friday, August 17, 2018 at 8:53:41 AM UTC-4, surfd...@aol.com wrote:
> : > Are they planning to keep anything at all from Americana?
> :
> : No, it's all going to be torn down. Butler Tech has the "front" part of
> : the property, which is the parking lot, entrance, the rides part of
> : Americana, and the Fantasy Farm acreage. The city of Monroe gets the
> : "back" part, which they are planning to turn into the park. There is
> : supposed to be an easement through the Butler Tech property to connect
> : the park to Route 4.
>
> Any plans to bring back LeSourdsville Lake? I know it was a man-made
> swimming hole to begin with, and I know it was drained a few years back...
>
> --Dave Althoff, Jr.

Part of it: https://www.journal-news.com/news/americana-amusement-park-property-here-are-the-plans-for-new-park-monroe/XC4agslmljtYZDDUz8UKDI/

They're going to tear down all the buildings, but use some small stuff throughout the park:
https://www.journal-news.com/news/new-details-how-monroe-plans-incorporate-former-americana-rides-into-new-park/jcbgyBtwIp5CgCXCJyiOjN/

And Jerry Couch is still evil: https://www.journal-news.com/news/local/items-from-old-americana-property-divided-between-city-owner/EaW47xzO5eDuAijD1ZCexM/

Sharon

sharondbond

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Jul 10, 2019, 9:10:29 AM7/10/19
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> On the way there, we drove past the old Americana site. Butler Tech has taken over Couch's showroom, and they've built a new building just to the west of it. Most of the old amusement park buildings seem to be standing, but there is construction equipment around them like they are tearing things down slowly. The main buildings at the front of the park are still standing, but probably not for long. Some of the old Fantasy Farm buildings are in the middle of being demolished.

Just thought I'd throw in an update. I've made a few trips on SR4 over the past year, and I've stopped to watch the progress.

As of Sunday, July 6, work seemed to have stopped. All of the construction equipment is gone. There are no physical barriers to stop anyone from walking in from the parking lot, but the road is gone. There are some big boulders to prevent vehicles from entering. The RR track is still there, and the crossing gates look to still be active. I looked in from my car, pulled right up to the edge of the parking lot at the RR gates. There aren't any No Trespassing signs, but I'm not sure what they would do if they caught you on the property.

The lake is there but just as a lake. I did not see anything like a beach. It looks much smaller and may only be a portion of the original lake. The rest of the property is now open grassy field and woods. The old log flume trench has been filled in.

At the front of the park near the parking lot there are a few structures. As you look in:

1. Some of the arches are still there - these were the ones that come up to a point at the top. They were around the entrance building, which is gone. What's left are just the now freestanding arches.

2. The roof and support pillars of a round building are just ahead and to your right. I am not sure what this is, because where it is doesn't fit with the old park maps that I find online. One map has something roughly in the same area, as Umbrella 1, so it may have been a picnic pavilion or food service pavilion.

3. There is another root and support pillars to your left. As best as I can figure out, this was the Demolition Derby.

4. What is left of the lake is off in the distance, slightly to the left. It was probably the part of the lake that stuck out toward the Eagle. But it doesn't have quite the same shape. I'm thinking that someone filled in the lake and then they have created a new lake to be part of the nature park.

The Fantasy Farm part has been mostly cleared. The motel and restaurant, that are both along SR4, are still in business. The motel is still named the Parkside Inn. One thing still there is a large metallic set of arches, which was a the structure for a temporary building, IIRC. Like Americana, it's all grassy field now. A couple of the smaller buildings are still there but the farm stuff is all gone.

I can't find any news reports about progress, or any potential opening date for the nature park. Progress may be stopped because Butler Tech may not run their construction technology programs in the summer. I think the new park actually looks very nice - I'm glad that they didn't just tear down everything and let the place rot. I'll update further if anything more happens, and when the nature park opens.

Sharon

sharondbond

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Jul 7, 2021, 1:59:14 PM7/7/21
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Update on the old Americana site - we looked at it on Monday, coming home from biking on the south portion of the Great Miami Trail.

On Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 9:10:29 AM UTC-4, sharondbond wrote:
> As of Sunday, July 6, work seemed to have stopped. All of the construction equipment is gone. There are no physical barriers to stop anyone from walking in from the parking lot, but the road is gone. There are some big boulders to prevent vehicles from entering. The RR track is still there, and the crossing gates look to still be active. I looked in from my car, pulled right up to the edge of the parking lot at the RR gates. There aren't any No Trespassing signs, but I'm not sure what they would do if they caught you on the property.

There is now a large sign advertising Monroe Bicentennial Commons Phase 1B. On the website for Butler County MetroParks, plans are to connect the north portion of the Great Miami River Trail to the south portion, including through Rentschler Forest, so it will go through the park. The website says that the connection was planned for 2020-21 but I don't think it's going to be finished this year.

You can't sneak in anymore. Past the RR tracks is a fence and you'd have to climb it. The boulders are gone. There is a large warning sign that these are active tracks.

> The lake is there but just as a lake. I did not see anything like a beach. It looks much smaller and may only be a portion of the original lake. The rest of the property is now open grassy field and woods. The old log flume trench has been filled in.

What I originally though was the lake is probably a portion of the river. The lake has completely disappeared from any online mapping services.

> At the front of the park near the parking lot there are a few structures. As you look in:
>
> 1. Some of the arches are still there - these were the ones that come up to a point at the top. They were around the entrance building, which is gone. What's left are just the now freestanding arches.

All the arches are gone.

> 2. The roof and support pillars of a round building are just ahead and to your right. I am not sure what this is, because where it is doesn't fit with the old park maps that I find online. One map has something roughly in the same area, as Umbrella 1, so it may have been a picnic pavilion or food service pavilion.

It's still there, along with another building that I hadn't seen before, almost right next to the RR tracks.

> 3. There is another root and support pillars to your left. As best as I can figure out, this was the Demolition Derby.

Still there from what I can tell, along with some other buildings that are right along the RR tracks. I think they cleared out a lot of trees and brush so a few things are more noticeable. I'm betting these will be repurposed for the park.

There is now a large round concrete plaza straight in from the gates. I would say it's roughly where the old entrance plaza was, after you got in through the gates. There is a metal roof structure over it. A small round area in front looks like it's gonna be a fountain, so maybe they are drawing on nostalgia for the old fountains.

The original plans were that the "back" part of the park would be a nature park, and Butler Tech would have the "front" part, with a road connecting through the Butler Tech part. It looks like the road will end now just at the RR tracks. And the road is now Jerry Couch Blvd. That sucks.
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