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Indiana Beach: There may be life, after all

Potential deal possibly in the works
Indiana Beach2.JPG
Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 17:58:00-04

MONTICELLO -- When the owners of Indiana Beach and Boardwalk Resort on Lake Shafer in White County said they would close the popular attraction this year, it appeared that was it for the park which has been in operation since 1926.

But in recent days, there have been signs of possible new life for Indiana Beach.

Apex Parks Group, the California company that owns the property, won't be reopening Indiana Beach, but there may be a new owner who will. "Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park Resort continues to work with White County to complete the sale of the park and campground, with the expectation that the park will operate in 2020," said Apex spokesperson Debbie Evans.

Also hopeful is White County Commissioner John Heimlich, who says he's "pretty optimistic," there will be a buyer. The park's future was discussed at Monday's commission meeting.

Much hinges of a $3 million loan the county would make available to a potential buyer. The loan isn't approved yet, but Heimlich tells RTV6 the process is moving along. The commission meets again in two weeks or could hold a special session if there is significant progress.

Complicating matters is COVID-19. The major amusement parks in or near Indiana are looking at a June opening, at the earliest.

WATCH | Indiana Beach gets a facelift in 2016

February's news that Apex was closing Indiana Beach hit White County, which is about 85 miles northwest of Indianapolis, very hard. "They are the economic engine that drives the economy in White County," said County Economic Development Director Randy Mitchell at the time.

Apex said the decision to close was driven by finances. Earlier this month, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Indiana Beach opened in 1926 and typically operated from late-May to late-September. Mitchell said 27 people worked there full-time, with upwards of 900 seasonal workers—many of them local teenagers and international students from Purdue University who don't go home for the summer.