Abandoned Deer Forest up for sale, neighbors concerned for next step
Overgrown and unkempt. That's the current status of a once-beloved Southwest Michigan landmark, and childhood memory for many.
The Deer Forest Amusement Park in Coloma has sat empty, after it shut down amid animal abuse allegations, close to three years ago.
Finally, some change could be on the way: the land is on the market.
"There was a really neat little train that would come by and go all around the park. We could see it just across the street from our house," remembers Lynn Rausch.
Now, it's a sight for sore eyes.
Rausch and her husband live just steps away from the nearly 70-year-old amusement park. A park that has been uncared for and abandoned in recent years
"It doesn't look good," says Rausch. "They haven't taken care of it."
Overgrown with weeds and worn down buildings, Deer Forest can now be anyone's, $600,000.
Now officially up for sale, a conversation has sparked in the Coloma community as people wonder what will happen next.
"That's a million dollar question," says Chris Siriano.
Siriano is a local historian, realtor, and used to go to Deer Forest as a child.
He took ABC57 inside to see what was left of Coloma's landmark.
"It was what put Coloma on the map and brought people from all over," he adds.
The 32 acres were unrecognizable from how Siriano remembers it. He's hoping someone will restore it to its original splendor.
"It needs to be a group of individuals with their heart right here on the soil. But I absolutely think its doable," he says. "So, they can feel what we all felt as children."
But what Siriano, and others, hope doesn't happen?
"I think we'd probably not be very happy if we heard it was sold and going to be developed into homes or condos, or something like that," says Rausch.
"I think it has too much nostalgia and it's loved by Southwest Michigan," adds Siriano.
The listing though says it could be: could be a RV Park, brewery, or housing development.
But with no offers on the table, Siriano is hanging on to hope.
"Who know whether somebody will put their teeth into that or not," he says. "But I think it needs to be a community effort to make it beautiful again."