Losing Joyland Is a Major Loss for Lubbock
I don't think anyone realizes how much the loss of Joyland is going to hurt Lubbock. Joyland Amusement Park is more than just fond memories. It's a landmark attraction in a city that doesn't have many.
Tourism Will Take a Hit
I don't think we ever give places like Joyland enough credit for tourism. When you hear the words "tourism" and "Lubbock" together, it's always kind of laughable because you think it's referring to Italians visiting Lubbock or something.
What tourism really is to Lubbock is people coming to town from Plainview, Brownfield, Levelland, and other surrounding towns. Those same people eat at our restaurants, shop at our stores, and frequently stay at our hotels. They now have one less reason to come to town.
With Joyland going or gone, what takes its place? I guess kids and families will have to savor the seasonal South Plains Fair just a little bit more. Texas Water Rampage and Adventure Park may fill the gaps just a little bit, but it's not like we have a zoo or even something like the old Putt Putt Golf & Games to entertain kids and families.
What Can Be Done?
I'm not so sure anything can happen to save the day. For some reason, the family has put the park on sale for just a little more than two weeks after which point they're going to auction. The most likely scenario is that other parks will come in and buy individual rides at auction much the same way Joyland acquired them in the first place.
What Should Have Been Done?
The truth is, Joyland should have been moved to private land long ago. Being in Mackenzie Park was a bad deal to start with and it only got worse.
The bowl shape of the park makes Joyland flood and the location makes a good cover for thieves and vandals to break into the place. Had Joyland been put on private land, the two biggest problems would have been solved almost immediately.
As for the city, I'm not really sure a partnership with Lubbock now or in the future is a good idea. I'm sure there are advantages, but relying on the city for the success or failure of a business seems like a plan that's doomed to fail. (The fact that Joyland lasted 50 years is phenomenal.)
This Probably Really Is the End
This isn't the first time the family that runs Joyland has threatened to hang it all up. Even looking at their announcement with their grievances on full display made me think for a moment that maybe they were just pushing for some improvements or a grant of some kind. The timetable given tells me otherwise. It appears that Joyland is gone, with no time to save it.
Joyland Will Be Missed
I don't believe Lubbock will ever host another place like Joyland. Start-up costs on something like this would be insane. This was built brick by brick and memory by memory over 50 years and I just don't think anyone will step up and do anything similar, at least for a very long, long time.