Will Fantasy Island's Closing Hurt Local Business?

Town officials are concerned about the possibility

Brendan Keany
February 21, 2020 - 1:22 pm
Fantasy Island

(WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany)

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GRAND ISLAND (WBEN) - Grand Island Town Supervisor John Whitney says he was as caught off-guard as the rest of Western New York residents when Fantasy Island closed its gates for good earlier this week.

Whitney says he first received text messages on Tuesday afternoon with a link to an article reporting that Fantasy Island was selling off the Silver Comet, and he didn't receive confirmation about the closure until the rest of us did - when the website stated that the amusement park was permanently closed.

"I had not heard from Apex Parks Group at that time," began Whitney. "I did, (Thursday) afternoon, speak with one of the gentleman who I believe is their marketing director, and he asked me to send him an email stating the questions that I had, and he would get answers for me and get back to me, but I have not heard back from him yet."

Some of the questions from Whitney include:

  • Is the park for sale?
  • Is the idea to sell off some of the rides, repurpose the land, then sell it?
  • Is it sold already?

"In their defense, the park manager is on vacation and out of the country," Whitney said. "I've called his cell phone, and his cell phone even states that. The other gentleman told me that he would be back on Monday and that I should probably expect a call from him on Monday, so that's probably the next time I'll speak to them."

Listen to Whitney's full comments below:

While Whitney says he hasn't yet been able to speak to local businesses regarding their concerns over Fantasy Island's closure, Nick Manzare, the general manager of Brick Oven, says the news certainly won't sink the business, but they'll still feel some of the effects.

"When you have a big amusement park across the street, it helps business," he began. "I'm not going to say that it's not going to take a little bit away."

He also noted that the customers he does lose will likely produce a small domino effect.

"I have about 50 employees, but in the summer time I hire 10 more," he said. "Maybe now this summer, I'm not going to be able to hire those extra kids that want jobs.

"What kind of even bothers me more is all of the kids in the community that worked over there that are going to be out of jobs."

Listen to Manzare's full comments below:

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