MONTICELLO – A little less than two months after Indiana Beach abruptly closed, White County and Monticello are still looking to for the right buyer of the amusement park.
In a special meeting Tuesday March 31, — first in executive session, closed to the public, then a second one open to the public through multiple live-streaming platforms while the government center is closed — the White County commissioners and White County Council agreed to offer $3 million in economic incentives to a potential buyer of Indiana Beach.
The $3 million will come from White County’s Wind Farm Economic Development fund, which was granted to the county to be used for economic development projects.
The county will establish a revolving loan fund, approved in a resolution during the public meeting Tuesday. The fund will draw money from the Wind Farm Economic Development fund, which is allowed through Indiana Code to be used for economic development purposes, including promoting gainful opportunities for employment for the county’s residents and also retain a significant business enterprise in the county, attorney Rick Hall said.
Once the fund is created, the county can lend money from the fund to borrowers. Of that, $3 million could be given to a potential new owner of Indiana Beach facility in the form of a forgivable loan.
Commissioners said they are still in discussion with prospective Indiana Beach buyers as of March 31, and no potential buyers have been publicly named.
The 94-year-old amusement park, located in Monticello and overlooking Lake Shafer, closed unexpectedly in February. Apex Parks Group, a California-based company that has owned Indiana Beach since 2015, also shut down its parks SpeedZone in Texas and Fantasy Island in New York in February, according to media reports.
The park’s closing shocked residents and government officials in Monticello and White County, for whom the park had been a large employer and source of income for decades.
On March 13, Indiana Beach sent an email to community members and those with season passes, stating the park was still searching for potential buyers.
“While the company has been in discussions with amusement industry leaders, brokers and investors for more than a year, the announcement of the park’s closing has sparked new interest,” the email read. “Working together with city and county leaders, the company is hopeful that a suitable buyer will be identified and the park will be operational in 2020.”
Indiana Beach and Apex have not returned calls or emails in recent weeks with requests for comment from the Journal and Courier. They have issued no formal plan for refunds to people who purchased guest passes before the park closed in anticipation of the 2020 season.
Once a deal has been reached with a buyer, the terms of the deal will become public and will be announced in a joint meeting, county commissioners said, because of the government money from the revolving fund involved.
SOURCE: (Lafayette) Journal and Courier