MELROSE PARK, Ill. (CBS) – The warehouse club retailer Costco has officially opened its new store in Melrose Park, on the former site of the Kiddieland amusement park.
The River Forest Leaves newspaper reported that shoppers from across the Chicago area lined up for the grand opening of the store at 8400 W. North Ave., which will offer low-price bulk food and other items to members.
Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico was present for the opening of the 152,000 square-foot store, which employs more than 200 people from the surrounding west suburban communities, the River Forest Leaves reported.
Shoppers with existing Costco memberships may shop at the Melrose Park store, but non-members may not make purchases. An executive membership at Costco is $100 a year; a general membership is $50 a year, the River Forest Leaves reported.
The newspaper quoted store membership marketing manager Kim Kapasouris as saying it was “bittersweet” to be on the site of Kiddieland, but the “good vibes” from the amusement park remain.
Kiddieland closed last year after 81 years of operation.
Property owners Shirley and Glenn Rynes, the daughter and grandson of original Kiddieland owner Art Fritz, opted to not renew the lease to the amusement park owners/operators.
The amusement park was owned and operated by other descendants of Fritz.
The remaining structures on the Kiddieland site were demolished this year. But the park sold some of its rides to other parks around the country before auctioning off the rest in November, allowing some of its parts to live on elsewhere.
Six Flags Great America in Gurnee snagged The Little Dipper, a vintage wooden roller coaster built in 1950 – 21 years after Arthur Fritz first opened the amusement park. The Little Dipper now resides in the Yukon Territory section of Great America.
Most of the Kiddieland train has been moved to the Hesston Steam Museum in Indiana.