Thunder Island is set to reopen next month under new ownership

FULTON, NY (WSYR-TV) – Thunder Island amusement park will roar once again, now under new ownership. The water park closed abruptly last season when co-owner Ron Falise was tragically killed in a tractor accident on the property.

“It was in the stars, it was just meant to be,” widow Lisa Falise said.

A bittersweet feeling for Falise as she handed over the keys to the next couple to take on Thunder Island, Shane and Gale LaBeef.

“It was very moving but at the same time a huge relief.”

Lisa Falise

Hailing from downtown New York, the LaBeefs are experienced in entertainment. They currently own a paintball park in Constantia and started Shane and Son’s Heating and Cooling in North Syracuse in 2009.

“We didn’t want to see it close,” Gale LaBeef said of the water park.

A state of mind at the top of Falise’s list of demands, finding someone to carry on her late husband Ron’s legacy.

“I was thrilled to have someone my real estate agent described to me as Lisa and Ron’s lookalike.”

Lisa Falise

The LaBeefs never had the pleasure of knowing Ron, but hope they can make him proud.

“It’s the right call and the LaBeefs are absolutely, definitely the right people to take on Thunder Island and let it roar again,” Falise said.

When the park opens, visitors can expect to see new attractions including laser tag and gel ball, a family version of paintball. They also hope to open a petting zoo in the future with the city’s approval.

But Falise said the best addition isn’t spinning or splashing, it’s a place to sit. Ron’s favorite spot in the park; a park bench. Now with a permanent plaque on it that reads “In memory of Ron Falise. May your dream live on.

A photo of the plaque the LaBeefs put on Ron’s favorite spot in the park, a bench.

The LaBeefs are working to finalize their permits. Once complete, they plan to open the dry rides first with the goal of opening the full water park by the end of June. As for admission, they hope to keep the price at the same level as last season.

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