Costs rising for Americana Amusement Park transformation in Monroe: Your questions answered

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Americana or LeSourdesville, however you remember it, Monroe wants to transform the old amusement park into a public park for all

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The cost of renovating the former Americana Amusement Park continues to rise, and that concerns at least two council members.

After the Monroe City Council approved spending $141,000 more for expenses related to the first two phases of Monroe Bicentennial Commons Park, the Journal-News asked more questions about the project, which is one of the area’s most notable because of the storied history of the Monroe amusement park that opened in 1922 and closed 80 years later and is being transformed.

Here are key questions about the project:

What’s the latest?

The estimated $15 million project that may take 10 to 15 years to complete will change the former Americana Amusement Park on Ohio 4 into a multi-purpose community park, Monroe city leaders said.

What are officials saying?

Councilwoman Christina McElfresh said the cost of the park “just keeps coming” and she expressed “a level of concern” during a recent meeting.

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McElfresh said part of the issue is how the cost of materials and labor have increased during the coronavirus pandemic. Estimated costs in 2018 are no longer valid three years later, she said.

Mayor Jason Frentzel said after approving additional funds “meeting after meeting” he feels “sticker shock.”

What’s the timeline?

The city hopes to open some sections of the park by Labor Day, McElfresh said. By that time, the playgrounds, shelters and walking trail should be open, she said.

Monroe Director of Development Kevin Chesar said he’d like to get the engineer and prep work complete for Phase 2 by the fall so bids can be sought in January 2022. He said bids typically are more competitive and lower in the first month of the year.

What’s the history of the site?

LeSourdsville Lake opened in 1922 as a family picnic and campground, then added rides, attractions and an arcade about 20 years later. In 1977, the name was changed to Americana Amusement Park.

When an electrical fire in 1990 caused more than $5 million in damages, the park fell into decline and was closed in 1999. Under new ownership, the park briefly opened in 2002, returning to the name LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park, but after failed attempts to turn a profit, it closed permanently.

Click here to read more on the transformation project.