Indiana Beach to close

Indiana Beach, opened in 1926, closed last week. Apex Parks Group has already begun advertising rides and attractions for sale in trade publications.

Monticello and White County officials have joined Apex Parks Group to find a buyer for the now-closed Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park.

The city, county and Apex — the Aliso Viejo, California, company that owns the park — sent a joint press release announcing the partnership in finding a park operator.

“Executives from Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park informed White County officials that the company will continue meeting with amusement industry leaders, brokers and investors in the hopes of finding a buyer,” the release stated.

“White County, and the City of Monticello, will be joining the endeavor to find options for the park,” it continued.

Apex, had officially announced Wednesday that the park wouldn’t be opening this summer, although that news already hit social media and then traditional media on Tuesday.

Monticello Mayor Cathy Gross stated, “the announcement that Indiana Beach would not be opening has been a blow to our community.”

She first met with Gary Fawks, Indiana Beach Amusement & Water Park General Manager, late Tuesday after word of the closing went through social media.

Gross stated in the press release, “City and County leaders have been in close contact with Apex. We all realize that this is not a personal decision, but a business one. We wish to remain good neighbors with Apex should there be any opportunity for a sale or resolution.”

The reason for closing seems to be that Indiana Beach was not attracting the crowds that Apex expected.

“Since purchasing the resort in 2015, we have invested in infrastructure, rides and maintenance at the well-loved park,” stated Fawks in the press release. “Despite these efforts, we have not seen an improvement in operating results. The decision to cease operations was not taken lightly.”

Apex bought the park on Sept. 1, 2015, from Morgan RV LLC, which bought Indiana Beach from the Spackman family in February 2008. The Spackman family started it in 1926 as Ideal Beach and slowly built up the amusement park side.

Since word of Indiana Beach’s closing became public, social media has been filled with speculations on potential buyers. Some have suggested that the company that owns the Four Winds Casino chain was looking at it.

Word from Four Winds was that the Pokagon Band, the native-American tribe that owns Four Winds, had not shown interest in purchasing Indiana Beach.

Gross and Randy Mitchell, president of White County Economic Development, also responded that they didn’t know of any such plans.

The YouTube channel “Midwest Coaster Fans” published a video on Friday speculating that the Florida-based Fun Spot America could be looking to purchase the park. Fun Spot America owns small parks similar to Indiana Beach and allegedly had executives fly into Indianapolis last week, according to the video (https://youtu.be/PfxIPs5lwx4).

However, the video’s narrator admitted that the executives could be in Indiana to look at buying some of Indiana Beach’s attractions, which have been listed for sale in amusement park trade publications.

Someone on Facebook was trying to generate interest on Saturday in his purchase of Indiana Beach, but the post was deleted by Sunday. People on the Carroll County news page, where his post was shared, claimed that the person deleted his account, too.

People have also tried to take action on the Internet.

Monticello resident Dustin Sprunger started a petition to get the interest of any potential buyers, according to a change.org press release. It had already exceeded 19,000 signatures by Friday, less than four days after people heard about the closing.

Gross told the Pharos-Tribune in an email that a petition wouldn’t enable Monticello to do anything more than it’s already doing. Indiana Beach isn’t a government entity and isn’t even in city limits.

However, the city and park have always worked together over the 94 years it’s existed because they knew it benefited both of them to do so, she stated.

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at james.wolf@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117.

Twitter: @JamesDWolfJr

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at james.wolf@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117.

Twitter: @JamesDWolfJr

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