LAKESIDE, Colorado — A spring day at Lakeside Amusement Park felt like a fresh start after the pandemic swept away an entire summer.
“We have grounds crew around, and they’re starting to do the general spring cleanup," said operations manager, Brenda Fishman. "You know, just like you have to do in your yard at home.”
On Tuesday afternoon, a worker swept up fallen leaves and tree branches from the sidewalks, helping prepare the park for its first visitors since the summer of 2019.
“Our goal is to be open by mid-Summer and to be back with the public in here and have everything up and running," said Fishman.
Last year, COVID-19 forced the closure of the amusement park that's been a fixture in the Denver metro area for 112 years.
"2020 was the first year since 1908 that it was ever closed,” Fishman said.
Fishman's family has been responsible for keeping the park open since the 1930s.
“I grew up working at Lakeside, as did my mother, and my grandfather was general manager before my mother, and so we definitely have deep roots here,” she said.
Fishman never pictured a summer at the park without crowds of people.
"To come down in the park and look around and see the beautiful, natural setting and the lake and the views of the mountains, but there were no people," Fishman said. "It was kind of sad without people.”
The park needs more than a little spring cleaning before welcoming people back. Fishman said she needs to hire an entire season's worth of workers.
"We’re hiring all sorts of trades," Fishman said. "Groundskeepers, carpenters, stucco workers, masonry, anything like that.”
Fishman said she needs people to run the rides, fry the funnel cakes and pop the popcorn.
"Lots of really conscientious people that are going to be good hosts to our guests," she said.
The park is looking for people 18 and older, but Fishman said she also encourages 16 and 17-year-olds to apply.
Fishman said the empty flower beds will soon pop with color and much of the park will get a fresh coat of paint. Sometime this summer, Lakeside Amusement Park will spring back to life.
"Just hoping to try and make it all come together and work," Fishman said.
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