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Fantasy Island confirms it has closed

The ride has stopped at Fantasy Island.

The theme park posted a graphic to its website homepage Wednesday afternoon that read "Permanently closed."

The park's owner, California-based Apex Parks Group, has not addressed whether it will refund season pass holders. The company directed those with questions to, but that page was inaccessible much of Wednesday afternoon. When users did get through, they were met with a contact form.

Grand Island Town Supervisor John Whitney said he is "greatly disappointed" by Apex's decision to close the park and will look to the state and county for help finding a new buyer.

That may not be an option, however, since it looks like Apex is dismantling the park and selling it piece by piece. An amusement park trade publication reported Apex has been trying to find buyers for rides and equipment at Fantasy Island, along with those at three other parks around the country. Among the rides up for sale at Fantasy Island are its Silver Comet roller coaster, the publication said.

The park generates roughly $120,000 in taxes, a quarter of which goes to the town, the supervisor said. The park employs full-time maintenance personnel and residents depend on it for seasonal employment.

"It's a big impact on us," Whitney said. "I would like to do whatever we could to help the situation."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said he would join the effort.

"We must focus on how to best incorporate the Fantasy Island site into the ongoing revitalization of Western New York," he said in a statement. "I stand ready to provide any assistance necessary as this process unfolds."

Fantasy Island opened in 1961. By 1982, it had fallen into bankruptcy, where it was acquired by Charles Wood, then-owner of the Mother Goose-themed StoryTown USA near Albany. Wood sold the park to International Broadcasting Corp. in 1989, but bought it back when IBC entered bankruptcy in 1992. Martin DiPietro bought the park from Wood in 1994, then sold it to Apex in 2016, saying it was the best way to assure the park's future success.

The sale of the rides was first reported by American Coaster Enthusiasts and picked up by WGRZ.

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