Bell's Amusement Park Lease Expires

KOTV - 11/8/2006 10:37 AM - Updated 11/9/2006 6:47 PM

It could be the end of Bell's Amusement Park at the Tulsa County fairgrounds. The lease that keeps Bell's at the fairgrounds expired Wednesday. Without it, the future of the park is in jeopardy.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the lease is up, but that doesn't mean Bell's is leaving.

The park might not be offered a new lease and without it, Bell's would have to close and soon. Robbie Bell's family has run this park since 1951, but Bell's final season might already be behind it and it was a good one. "We had one of the best years we've ever had, despite a storm that had us closed down 20 days in June."

Bell's future at the Tulsa County fairgrounds is in jeopardy because its lease is up. The decision on whether a new lease will be offered is largely up to the CEO of Expo Square. He's not ready to commit either way. Rick Bjorklund: "History and tradition is vitally important to a property like Expo Square, but the future is what we have to pay close attention to and the best interest of the county taxpayer."

Bell says he wants to stay and is ready to add 2 new rides for the next season, if there is one. "We've shown our commitment to the park with the millions upon millions of dollars we continue to reinvest."

Bell's leases 10 acres from Expo Square on the fairgrounds. Bell's pays rent based on how much money they make from admission and rides. For the last year, that was $135,000. Robbie Bell says since 1951, his family has paid $12.5-million in rent at the fairgrounds.

Rick Bjorklund says what happens with Bell's will come down to how much money it can make for the county. "The public has put a great of money of time and effort into improving this fairgrounds. So as we take that game we are going to expect everyone here to take that game up also."

The letter sent to Bell's Wednesday doesn't sound like there is a lease coming. The News on 6 talked to Robbie Bell late Wednesday afternoon and he had just received the letter, but declined comment.