Storyland Playland Engages Community to Help Save the Parks
(FRESNO, CA) – Storyland Playland has closed due to lack of revenue and is currently working on an outreach strategy to reopen as a self-sustainable community asset.
Rotary Playland was founded by members of the North Fresno Rotary Club in 1955 as a low cost alternative to Disneyland. For the past 60 years, Playland has brought smiles, laughter and lasting memories to hundreds of thousands of Valley families and children.
In 1992, Rotary Playland took over the operation of its then closed "child literacy" neighbor, Storyland. Playland invested over $400,000 in the renovation of Storyland, allowing it to reopen in 1994 under the new name of "Rotary Storyland Playland".
Storyland Playland is an independent, not-for-profit corporation. It is not owned or operated by the local Rotary Clubs, nor does Rotary have any financial oversight of the Parks. However, these clubs have generously supported the Parks over the years by contributing to numerous capital projects. While these donations have helped offset some of the annual operational expenses, the Parks need to be self-sustaining, which they have not been for several years. It is important to note that Rotary Storyland Playland has never received any financial support from "Measure Z", the Zoo or from the City of Fresno.
Today, Storyland Playland is at a crossroads. In recent years, attendance and concessions revenue has declined drastically, while expenses have steadily increased. Money has not been available to pay operating costs, including exhibit maintenance and landscaping. Board members have written personal checks to keep the lights on and the security system active. Five local Rotary Clubs also came forward to help with operating expenses. However, without a significant infusion of cash, the Parks are in danger of closing forever – a sad reality that no one wants to happen.
Storyland Playland is currently seeking advice from the Zoo and other community experts as it crafts an outreach strategy to help save the Parks. The immediate need is to raise $500,000 for Storyland and the train. This amount will cover irrigation and landscape improvements, the replacement of tree damaged sidewalks (trip hazards), bathroom upgrades, train upgrades and track repairs. Additionally, it will provide three months of operational costs, allowing the train and Storyland to reopen later this year. Playland would remain closed for at least a year or until funds are raised for a total refresh. This could be accomplished for approximately $350,000 to $400,000 – covering expenses for a major cleanup, landscape improvements, ride improvements and a new attraction. With the appropriate funding, the goal would be to reopen a new and improved Playland, with an enhanced guest experience, by summer 2016.
While circumstances have left the Parks in this unfortunate financial position, the community can help ensure the Parks reopen and continue with its legacy of giving children and families countless hours of joy for years to come.
The community can help by contributing at www.savestoryland.com. For more information, call (559) 486- 0516
Rotary Storyland & Playland is a treasured Central California non-profit that exists to create memories through exceptional service, affordable entertainment and education for the children and families of Central California.
Storyland is a walk-through park of Mother Goose stories and nursery rhymes, including favorites like Jack and Jill, Goldilocks & the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, Peter Pan, Hansel & Gretel, King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table, Alice in Wonderland, Noah's Ark, Humpty Dumpty, and more!
Playland is a small family amusement park with 13 rides. Enjoy the Willis. B. Kyle Express Train, the Big Rocko Ferris Wheel or the thrill of the Octopus ride. Playland also has a 3,500 square foot splash park called Splash Junction which is free to the public when the temperature is over 75 degrees.
Rotary Storyland & Playland relies on the generosity of our community to maintain the parks, bring in new rides—and to help create lasting memories for our guests. Please open your heart and help save Storyland & Playland. We pledge to use your gift to provide the outstanding and unique family experiences you expect from Rotary Storyland & Playland for years to come!
890 W. Belmont Ave.
Fresno, California 93728