LUBBOCK, Texas — After a long 50 years, David and Kristi Dean announced on Tuesday that Joyland Amusement Park will not reopen in Lubbock after the group of investors who agreed to purchase the business backed out of the deal.
The park, a staple on the South Plains since 1973, has been pushing through challenges for decades. In September, the Deans made the difficult decision to close and look for new ownership.
A glimmer of hope came when the Dean family announced in October that a deal was reached to keep the park open with local business owners Jim and Kai Evans, and Darryl and Stephanie Holland.
The group of investors cited “numerous obstacles” for backing out of the deal. According to a statement from Jim and Kai Evans, those obstacles included specialized insurance, vandalism and “dwindling experienced carryover staff” as the spring season approached.
“Well, my goodness, I am really brokenhearted, really sad. Beyond it falling out, just the fact that all the fun comes to an end after 50 years. All those smiles that we saw, they sure warm my heart seeing all the families come together out here and friends and having a good time. I’m just glad I got an opportunity to be part of it,” David Dean said.
Below is a statement from Jim and Kai Evans to EverythingLubbock.com:
“We share the disappointment of not being able to move forward with the acquisition of Joyland – as our team has encountered numerous obstacles which prevent a successful transition. Our intent to purchase this Lubbock landmark has been earnest from day one – but a number of overwhelming factors – chiefly the inability to obtain specialized insurance, vandalism during the offseason, dwindling experienced carryover staff, the fast-approaching spring operating season – and many other factors – contributed to this very difficult decision. We appreciate the efforts of the Dean family, the City of Lubbock and citizens for their support of our sincere efforts. An enormous amount of time, energy and investment into the exploration of this endeavor has been put forth – including proposed splash pad and many other upgrades to benefit families and our community – but factors beyond our control were too great to overcome.” –Jim and Kai Evans
As for the amusement park rides leftover, liquidation of the park will proceed, the statement said Tuesday morning.
“We really appreciate all of the West Texas area, everyone, eastern New Mexico, we really appreciate their support through the year. We love you guys, and we miss you,” Dean said.
After decades of providing fun in Lubbock, Dean said, “sometimes you just have to move on.”