Kiddieland to close

May 21, 2009 8:31:31 AM PDT
A well-known amusement park will close after more than 80 years.Kiddieland in Melrose Park, Ill., was established in 1929.

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The fate of Kiddieland has been in question since a family feud was reported. According to a release, the sale of the land- which is managed by a trust- has led to its closure. The park owners and the trust managers have been in negotiations for several years, but negotiations appear to have stalled.

It is not clear when the park will close, but the amusement park is preparing to sell its rides and equipment, according to a press release.

The final sale is expected in October 2009.

The park refers to itself as the last U.S. theme park catering exclusively to children.

There have been stories swirling about family feuds about what to do with the and the amusement park. The family members ABC7 spoke with on Wednesday said there is no animosity but it is time to close the park, bringing to an end a legacy that began eight decades ago.

The family-owned amusement park will enter its last season this weekend.

"I wish I could buy the sign. I love the sign. It will are be missed. It's been here for quite a long time," said Pat Aller.

"It's kind of sad because a lot of kids haven't been there and I think if they had the chance to experience it, it would be the experience of a lifetime as a kid at least," said Christian Butler.

The park was created in 1929 by Ron Rynes' grandfather. Among the special orders is a German-made carousel his grandson now enjoys.

"It's not easy to talk about especially when it's going to come to an end, but it's something that is inevitable," said Ron Rynes, Kiddieland owner.

Ronald, his sister and brother-in-law now own the park. They explained their lease is up, and moving all the specialty rides would simply be too expensive.

"It's surprising how emotional you do get when you talk about it and think about it. We've been looking at this for five or six or seven years, thinking it was going to happen, hoping it wouldn't but thinking it was. Now the closer it gets we figured let's get it out in the open and enjoy the last year here without having to revisit this emotionally every day," said Tom Norini, Kiddieland owner.

The family says they saw record numbers at the park last summer. It's unclear why their lease was not extended.

The season will kick off this Memorial Day weekend. As it stands now the final weekend will be September 27.

ABC7 tried to reach the family members who own the majority of the land that is leased to the park but were unable to reach them on Wednesday.


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