MONTICELLO — "There's more than corn in Indiana." Who doesn't remember that television and radio commercial jingle for Indiana Beach in Monticello?
Tuesday, the California-based company that owns Indiana Beach Boardwalk Resort on Lake Shafer announced it is closing the popular attraction in White County.
The decision was confirmed by Randy Mitchell, president of the White County Economic Organization, following a meeting with a representative of the owner, Apex Parks Group.
The news is hitting 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 Mitchell.
A visitor to the park's entrance Tuesday sent back a photo of a rather desolate scene.
Apex Parks Group, at its Tuesday meeting with Mitchell, said the decision to close Indiana Beach was driven by finances. And it was unexpected, said Mitchell, who felt the amusement park had been on the upswing since Apex purchased it five years ago.
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.
Indiana Beach boasted of having more than 40 rides, including water slides and six roller coasters. Apex indicated it would sell as many rides as possible, including the coasters.
Mitchell said Apex attempted to sell the park, without any takers.
On Wednesday afternoon, the park released the following statement:
“Despite significant effort and a great deal of investment in infrastructure and rides, we have not seen an improvement in operating results. As such, we made the difficult decision to cease operations. This was not a decision entered into lightly. Team members are being assisted by their supervisors and the company is working to minimize impact to those affected. Guests may visit www.indianabeach.com for answers to commonly asked questions.”