CONNEAUT on a roll, parks seeks Idora rides. People who own Idora park memorobilia can either lend it or sell it to be part of the Conneaut Lake Park connection.

By Bob Jackson

Boardman-Calling all cars! Calling all cars! It sounds like a line straight out of any police show from the 1950's, but it's actually a call from two local men who are searching for cars from the Jack Rabbit and Wildcat roller coasters, which once rolled across Idora Park. The Youngstown amusement park has been closed since September 1984, but it might find new life in the confines of Conneuat Lake Park, which was recently taken over by a group of Boardman men. They hope to rebuild one or both of the coasters at Conneaut. Both rides are still at the old Idora site, though the Wild Cat was badly damaged in a fire just before the park's final season. Blueprints for the rides are available, so they can be refurbished. Conneaut Lake Park is set to open May 28.

Inventory Sold:When Idora closed, most of it's inventory was sold at auction, including coaster cars, said Bob Barko Jr., He and Mike Tarantino have been charged with trying to locate as many of the cars as possible, along with any other Idora memorabilia, for display at Conneaut. "Just about everything that wasn't bolted down got auctioned off", but most of it has stayed right here in the Mahoning Valley" Barko said. "It's in people's attics or garages and places like that". Barko and Tarantino head the Idora Park Development Co. a group that seeks to keep the park's memory alive through sale and display of memorabilia. "This is our Titanic," Tarantino said. "We can't raise it, but we can certainly go and brin out the memorabilia that can keep it alive".

Youngstown Connection: Carl Severino Jr., director of promotions and management at Conneaut, has said he would like to have as much Idora memorabilia as possible on display at Conneaut, giving that park a Youngstown connection and keeping the Idora spirit alive. Conneaut's owners plan to establish a nonprofit historical district wihtin the park and dedicate it to Idora. They will relocate the Jack Rabbit to Conneaut first, then focus on the Wildcat, Barko and Tarantino said. Barko said the Idora coaster cars would be put on display in a protected setting at Conneaut as a symbol of the "coming attractions" of a mini Idora there. Conneaut officials would like to eventually open an Idora Park museum there he said. Conneaut officials will pay to move the cars there, as well as to insure and protect them while on display, Barko said. He said they can be either sold or lent to Conneaut.

Other memorabilia: The group is also interested in obtaining other Idora Park memorabilia for display at Conneaut and is negotiating with a New York woman who owns the Idora Carousel, Barko said. The men said it takes about two to three years to move a roller coaster. Cost is estimated at $700,000. To help raise money, Idora Park Development Co. will sponser "Back to Idora" on August 29, 1999 at the Holiday Inn Metroplex in Liberty. The event will "re-create the spirit" of Idora Park through memoriabilia displays, entertainment, video screenings and other activities and midway style games.

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