Popular tourist railroad in Mass. up for sale

November 4, 2010

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CARVER, Mass.—Edaville Railroad is up for sale and its owner said Thursday the popular southeastern Massachusetts tourist attraction would be forced to shut down if a buyer isn't found in the next few months.

Jon Delli Priscoli, who owns the 230-acre site including the scenic railroad and theme park, said Edaville USA operators Brenda Johnson and Robert Julian have decided not to renew their lease.

Delli Priscoli is asking $10 million for the property, with the possibility of owner financing. He said his goal was to find a buyer who would keep it in business.

"Ideally, we'd like to have someone come in and buy the entire operation and keep Edaville running, and I can give that about three months to happen," he said. "But if we can't find a buyer, I'm going to have to sell the land parcels, the buildings and the equipment separately."

The land is largely zoned for residential use and includes an approved 20-lot subdivision that could be utilized by a developer in the future. But the property also an entertainment district overlay that allows the park to continue operating.

Edaville opened in 1947 after Ellis D. Atwood built a 5 1/2 mile rail bed around his cranberry plantation and started one of the world's first tourist railroads.

It closed in 1992, but reopened in 1999 after Delli Priscoli and two partners leased the park from the Atwood family. Delli Priscoli later purchased the facility outright.

Edaville will hold what could be its last annual Festival of Lights, featuring more than 7 million Christmas lights, from Nov. 12 to Jan. 2.

A buyer could potentially expand the facility to include a water park, mini-golf course or other attractions, Delli Priscoli said.

"I think the historic nature of this park, and its current potential to grow into something even bigger makes it attractive to potential buyers," Delli Priscoli said. "I really hope that is how this story ends."