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Kiddieland Amusement Park To Close After 80 Years

The owners of Kiddieland Amusement Park in Melrose Park Illinois, announced that the park is shutting down after this season. The family that owns the Melrose Park amusement park and the land it sits on was involved in a dispute that spilled into court in 2006.

The park dates back to 1929 when founder Arthur Fritz set up six ponies and offered rides to children in the hopes of giving parents and children a place to forget their troubles during the Great Depression. By 1950, Kiddieland had expanded to include multiple rides including a PTC junior wooden coaster.

Fritz's two daughters eventually took over the amusement park, and in January 1977, the current owners, Ron and Mary Rynes and Tom and Cathy Norini, took over operation. Ron Rynes and Cathy Norini are Fritz's grandchildren and own and operate the park. They were sued by their mother and brother, Shirley and Glenn Rynes, who own the land it sits on. The park's lease was set to expire in 2009.

In a news release, co-owner Norini said there is now little hope for a last-minute reprieve to keep Kiddieland going. Tom Norini stated that Shirley and Glenn Rynes have ignored their requests, and refuse to extend the park's lease. The family members have not spoken to each other in years, all contact is done through their lawyers. Plans are underway to sell off the rides and equipment. Unless something changes, the sale will begin in October, according to the news release.

Kiddieland is home to Little Dipper a 1950 PTC junior wooden coaster designed by Herbert Schmeck and built by Frank Hoover. The 28-foot high Little Dipper is an ACE Coaster Classic.

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* Rus Ozana
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