Campground Planned for Site of Old Entertainment Venue

RYAN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- For nearly 70 years, Lakewood Park in Schuylkill County was the place to be.

"They had the great roller coasters and a lot of the great rides, and both had excellent ballrooms where they used to have dances there on the weeknights," Jack Malarkey of Tamaqua said.

The entertainment venue and amusement park first opened in 1914. It included a lake. Over the years, it drew in several famous musical artists and was a popular destination for dancing and swimming.

Lakewood Park closed in the 1980s and a portion of it burned down in 1998. Now, there are plans to turn the old site near Barnesville into a 54-acre campground with a 10-acre lake.

The family who purchased the land said they've always wanted to own a campground site and fell in love with Lakewood Park when they began to learn the history of it.

People who live in Schuylkill County are happy the old space is being used.

"I guess it would be good for the area, I mean, you know, people who like camping," Edward Bickowski of William Penn said. "Like I said before, it's better to utilize something instead of leaving something like that to go to waste."

The campground developers are still working to get proper zoning for the project. Their hope is to break ground in the fall and have the campground open in the next two years.

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