Fantasy Island could make a return next year

Entertainer from Grand Island amusement park now leading reopening efforts for theme park

Mike Baggerman
July 09, 2020 - 12:48 pm
Fantasy Island

(WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – Fantasy Island could make a comeback as early as next May, according to Bill Baldwin, who is leading the efforts to bring back the Grand Island amusement park which abruptly closed in February.

Baldwin, formerly known as Black Bart from Fantasy Island’s Wild Wild West shootout shows, is now the CEO of the recently-created Empire Adventures. Since the park closed in February, he began a grassroots campaign to bring the park back to life by forming business partnerships and raising funds in the community.

He hopes to eventually raise enough money to secure loans which would permanently bring back the park.

“Once we get that, within a week of the ink being dry on this paperwork, we will have rides in this park and things ready to go for May of 2021, the 60th anniversary,” Baldwin said.

Business leaders and community members all lauded Fantasy Island for its impact on families for generations. However, re-opening the park presents a monumental challenge for a grassroots group due to the finances needed.

Baldwin said he anticipates utilizing grants and working with multiple investors next week plus at least three banks.

“It’s going to be flying between now and May,” Baldwin said.

He said that his goal is to have the park reopen under similar pricing as before, though suggested they may need to charge more money to park in order to offset costs on capital improvements.

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