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California’s Great America set to close in 11 years, long goodbye planned after land sold

<i>KGO</i><br/>California's Great America's operator Cedar Fair announced Monday that it sold the land in Santa Clara
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California's Great America's operator Cedar Fair announced Monday that it sold the land in Santa Clara

By AMANDA DEL CASTILLO

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    SANTA CLARA, California (KGO) — Goodbye California’s Great America… at least, eventually.

Park operator Cedar Fair announced on Monday, it sold the land in Santa Clara.

The development came as a shock to those who have long-loved the nearly 50-year-old South Bay staple.

“I was here every summer and my kids grew up here,” Milpitas resident, Rosie Walker said as she waited to pick up her daughter and friends from the theme park. “It’s a tradition, getting a season pass for your birthday, right? So you can spend your summers at Great America. So, it’s gonna be sad.”

Cedar Fair plans to keep the amusement park open for “up to 11 years,” under a lease agreement with purchaser Prologis.

The land next to Levi’s Stadium was sold to the Bay Area-based logistics real estate company for $310 million.

In a press release, Cedar Fair announced it “Intends to use proceeds from the land sale transaction to accelerate progress on its strategic priorities of reducing debt to achieve its $2 billion target.”

However, visitors on Monday told ABC7 News, it’s hard to put a price on missed experiences.

“It’s so sad because like, when I’m an adult, I still would want to go here and have fun,” Lauren Gorospe said. “And like, relive those memories.”

Memories that, for Gorospe and others, were made only a short distance from home.

Great America guests explained similar amusement parks in the East Bay and elsewhere demand long drives, leaving the younger generation with few options.

“It’s kinda long, it’s kinda far,” visitor Jaquelyn Gutierrez said. “So like, I’d rather come here and you know, enjoy my time with my friends.”

“Most of the time, we don’t really have to go on a lot of rides because there’s other stuff to do,” Dominique Walker added.

With an expiration date on entertainment, only a decade of drops left, and a few more years of funnel cakes, Great America fans wonder what this means for opportunity.

“A lot of people, this is their first job,” Rosie Walker shared. “I grew up here, so I know I used to come here all the time. The economic impact it’ll have on the community… I think is gonna be huge.”

ABC7 News reached out to Great America, Santa Clara city leaders and county representatives about future impacts.

The City of Santa Clara shared the following statement:

“City does not know of any plans on how the California’s Great America property will be used in the future by the new property owner, so we cannot comment on the economic impacts or benefits. However, like all our businesses, large or small, we value and appreciate what California’s Great America has brought to our community since establishing in the City of Santa Clara in 1976. They have impacted millions and millions of visitors throughout the world and locally. The City of Santa Clara has enjoyed the partnership with California Great America.”

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