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Indiana Beach (IB) Discussion Thread

Page 45 - New Coaster for 2021!!!

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It is nice to see the local authorities getting involved with Indiana Beach.

 

Besides FunSpot, there may be another potential buyer, Ronald Gerstorff, the owner of Slick Track, a go-kart business out of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

 

Gerstoff told the Journal & Courier he was “blown away” after hearing the initial news of Indiana Beach’s closure, as he had been trying to get in touch with Apex a little over a year before the park closed, interested in purchasing it and taking over operations.

 

“If they shoot me an offer, I would purchase it right now,” Gerstoff said.

 

https://www.jconline.com/story/news/2020/02/21/indiana-beach-potential-buyers-emerge-monticello-mayor-owner-say-hopes-amusement-park-still-alive/4829720002/

 

 

Indiana Beach: Potential buyers emerge, city and owner say future for amusement park still alive

Emily DeLetter, Journal & Courier Published 6:47 p.m. ET Feb. 21, 2020 | Updated 11:36 p.m. ET Feb. 21, 2020

 

 

MONTICELLO – Indiana Beach is up for sale, and the city and county that are home to the much-beloved amusement park are hoping to find a new buyer.

 

White County and the city of Monticello will assist Apex Parks Group, a California-based company that has owned Indiana Beach since 2015, in meeting with amusement industry leaders, brokers and investors in hopes of finding a buyer for the park, Monticello Mayor Cathy Gross said Friday.

 

White County Commissioner John Heimlich said he wanted the public to know that discussions about the future of Indiana Beach were ongoing.

 

Apex Parks Group announced Tuesday to White County officials it was closing the popular Indiana Beach amusement park that has operated on Lake Shafer since 1926.Buy Photo

 

Apex Parks Group announced Tuesday to White County officials it was closing the popular Indiana Beach amusement park that has operated on Lake Shafer since 1926.

 

“We want to see the Beach continue to operate, and Apex would like to see that, too,” Heimlich said. “We’ll just have to see what happens.”

 

The 94-year-old park along the shores of Lake Shafer closed abruptly Tuesday, a few months before it was supposed to open for the 2020 season, a move that shocked residents and local officials.

 

Calls and emails throughout the week to both Apex and Indiana Beach were not returned.

 

In a statement Friday, Gary Fawks, general manager of Indiana Beach said, “Since purchasing the resort in 2015, we have invested in infrastructure, rides and maintenance at the well-loved park. Despite these efforts, we have not seen an improvement in operating results. The decision to cease operations was not taken lightly.”

 

Randy Mitchell, White County economic development director, said Gregg Borman, senior vice president of operations with Apex, told him the company was closing Indiana Beach because of financial reasons.

 

Apex also shut down SpeedZone in Texas and Fantasy Island in New York, according to media reports.

 

Mitchell said the economic development office was working on keeping Indiana Beach going and was in the process of trying to find an investor or partner who would be interested in taking over the park’s operations.

 

On Friday, Mitchell said he didn’t have any information on if or when rides would be disassembled, although he was previously informed that Apex would be disassembling rides in the spring.

 

The park’s website was updated to notify guests it is permanently closed, with a link to a questionnaire regarding accommodations and camping, groups and birthdays and season passes.

 

As of Friday, Apex and Indiana Beach had not confirmed whether guests who had purchased season passes, which were on sale as recently as Christmas, would receive refunds.

 

Calls for refunds continued through the end of the week, with confusion and frustration from those who already put money up for Indiana Beach entertainment and couldn’t get anyone to answer phone calls. It wasn’t clear how many season passes – along with deals on food and drinks – Indiana Beach had sold for the 2020 season.

 

Joe Wurl has had a camper at the Indiana Beach campgrounds since 1999, where he and the family go to spend days off between May and October. Wurl said he paid $3,000 for his camping spot and a place to leave his camper for the 2020 season.

 

Wurl said he was anxious for a refund. But he said he also needed to know if and when he needed to get the camper – a project that meant hiring a truck to haul a wide load to another location.

 

“I’d like to get my money back,” Wurl said. “But more than anything, I just want to know what’s going on.”

 

A Facebook post from Fun Spot America, a group of theme parks based in Florida and Georgia, hinted interest in Indiana Beach, responding to a comment that a Fun Spot executive was on a plane Thursday to Indianapolis.

 

John Chidester, vice president of marketing for Fun Spot America, acknowledged the Facebook post, but said he was not able to confirm any news connecting Fun Spot and Indiana Beach.

 

Another interested potential buyer is Ronald Gerstorff, the owner of Slick Track, a go-kart business out of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

 

Gerstoff told the Journal & Courier he was “blown away” after hearing the initial news of Indiana Beach’s closure, as he had been trying to get in touch with Apex a little over a year before the park closed, interested in purchasing it and taking over operations.

 

“If they shoot me an offer, I would purchase it right now,” Gerstoff said.

 

A petition was created by a Monticello resident to "Help save Indiana Beach," to entourage a buyer to purchase the park. As of Friday, it had gathered more than 29,000 signatures.

 

The park sits along the shores of Lake Shafer, one of the Twin Lakes in Monticello, offering an unobstructed view of the lake from park property.

 

For nearly 100 years, Monticello has grown around Indiana Beach. The amusement park, best known for it's slogan, "There's more than corn in Indiana," was an iconic institution for the small town, offering an attraction for both in-state and out-of-state tourists and a chance to put Monticello on the map.

 

Indiana Beach was first built as Ideal Beach in 1926 by Earl Spackman. The property changed hands a few times, through Spackman family members and Morgan Recreation Vacations before it was purchased by Apex in 2015.

 

Kaylee Hahn, the digital marketing director for Enjoying White County Tourism, said the root of White County’s tourism in its entirety stems from Indiana Beach.

 

In 2018, Hahn said White County Tourism recorded Indiana Beach employing between 650 to 800 people, including both seasonal and full-time staff. The number of season pass holders was around 46,000, which encapsulated people in both single and family passes. The park’s total attendance in 2018 was over 600,000, according to Hahn.

 

However, Hahn said more recent additions, including resorts, lakeside dining, boat rentals and the Madam Carroll boat on neighboring Lake Freeman have seen a parallel that moves the primary income away from solely the amusement park.

 

“The lakes are still a great avenue of income, and they’re sustainable,” Hahn said. “They aren’t going anywhere.”

 

There’s also a potential for high-value real estate, if the park were to dismantled and the was land sold to developers.

 

Hahn said the White County Association of Realtors met to discuss the value and potential that Indiana Beach’s land could hold. Attempts to reach the Association of Realtors were not immediately returned.

 

Michael Sims and Ryan Clemons, co-owners of Outrigger Resort and real estate agents, said adding developments to Indiana Beach’s land, whether those be lakefront homes or condos, would be in large demand.

 

Houses for sale around Lake Shafer currently range from $139,900 to $989,900, according to Zillow.com.

 

“There is a huge draw for condos here,” Clemons said. “They’re in big demand. I really believe, as a result, we’ll see a different financial demographic come through Monticello. The higher-end market would increase, and the lower-end market would decrease.”

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Sounds like someone will be getting a nice tax break if they do buy the park...

 

The lack of clarity on refunds also makes me think a bankruptcy might be in the cards...season pass holders would be low on the list of creditors to get anything, so they could just be keeping their cash and running...

Edited by Jew
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I'm glad to hear that Indiana Beach may be saved after all.

 

Maybe they can shoot over to Galesburg and buy Northgate Lanes while they're at it. LOL Since the owner is the only one of my friends left in the area who is interested in going to Amusement Parks, I'll pretty much be paralyzed from attending any parks until it sells.

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If Indiana Beach truly ends up closing for good this will be just as terrible as the loss of the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. How on earth can there not be any help from government with a landmark status or help from a wealthy benefactor? The operating budget of a place like IB can't be huge, and they had tons of season pass holders and 600,000 visitors in 2018.

 

I guess Indiana, with its near zero taxes, probably isn't financially able to offer a helpful loan package or anything to the business.

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This could very well be harder than anticipated to find a new operator because at some point prior to announcing closure, Apex parks supposedly sold the land under Indiana Beach to Store Master Funding LLC and leased it back from them to operate the park. If Apex defaulted on Indiana Beach's lease payments this could make things even more complicated. Any new deal to operate the park would have to go through the city, Apex, and Store Master Funding.

 

 

For proof of above claim go to this link, click "start your search" and type in "indiana beach".

http://in-white-assessor.governmax.com/propertymax/rover30.asp?sid=3F

 

 

This is the company that currently owns the land.

https://www.storecapital.com/more-about-master-funding-solutions-2/

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How on earth can there not be any help from government with a landmark status or help from a wealthy benefactor?

Seriously bro... You really think the government should get involved in the closing of an amusement park? Just how much of a national landmark status was this? I'm curious if it's state or federal government that should respond? The closing of the park really sucks. But, I don't think bringing in the National Guard is a good idea. I had to pay on my taxes this year, man. I wouldn't want to give any more state or federal money to keep an amusement park open. There are plenty of people who can be 'helped' with that money, if you're into that kind of thing. I hope I misinterpreted your statement.

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^ I agree with you to an extent. This place isn't Coney Island. However, it's pretty much the only thing in Monticello/White County that generates any revenue at all. So from a purely economic point of view, the county may find it in their best interests to find a way to keep the park open, especially if the cost to do so would be less than the lost tax revenue. A much better analogy would be Conneaut Lake Park, where the local government created a non-profit trust to care for the park.

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If Indiana Beach truly ends up closing for good this will be just as terrible as the loss of the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. How on earth can there not be any help from government with a landmark status or help from a wealthy benefactor?

The wealthy benefactors of 2020 don't see "a classic piece of amusement park history that needs to be preserved and modernized", they see "prime real estate for a profitable mixed-use development with high-end apartments".

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Clearly Apex bit off more then they could chew. Really wish they could of sold of some of these parks a couple years ago before selling off the land for a quick influx of cash to stay afloat. I could see Six Flags/Fun Spot ect pulling off a good lease deal hopefully

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Technically, it was Premier Parks before they bought Six Flags, and they promptly spent as little as possible on the park and offloaded it a short 12 years later.

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I think the more appropriate argument for Indiana Beach would be that Six Flags at one point owned Wyandot Lake in Columbus. But I agree, small chance it is Six Flags. Maybe a few months ago they would have considered as they were looking to acquire adjacent properties to grow and give more value to membership. With the fallout of the China parks, domestic attendance down, and shift away from such a high focus on memberships, I'd say chances are close to none now.

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Also sorry for the double post, but this seemed like an important development. This was posted on the Fun Spot America Facebook page. They wont be buying the park, but also due to this statement, it sounds like they won't be scalping any rides either.

 

"

To the many fans of Indiana Beach,

 

We are honored to have been asked by so many loyal Indiana Beach supporters to purchase the park and keep the legacy of great rides and family memories created by the Spackman family alive. We recently received an invitation to visit the park, review the facilities and attractions at Indiana Beach Boardwalk Resort.

 

During the past few days, for some, waiting for an answer may have seemed like an eternity. We saw a park with rich history and heritage, that has created memories for generations. Unfortunately purchasing Indiana Beach or any park is not in our current master plans. We are going to pray for the proper owners and operators to become visible so that Indiana Beach may continue to serve their guests and community for many more generations.

 

We encourage the efforts to have Indiana Beach reopen. It is a treasure that should be allowed to delight families for generations to come. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of sincere wishes and wonderful family messages from so many loyal Indiana Beach fans, we are with you in the hope that there is an organization that can share your passion and dreams for the future of Indiana Beach.

 

-Fun Spot America Theme Parks

"

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^They did make the trip up there to look at the park so I wonder if they were interested but the asking price was too high or if they were just interested in some rides but decided to give someone a chance to buy the park outright before they come in and scalp off the rides they want. Hopefully that go kart owner in TN is still interested or can afford the asking price or maybe another buyer for the park emerges.

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If Indiana Beach truly ends up closing for good this will be just as terrible as the loss of the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. How on earth can there not be any help from government with a landmark status or help from a wealthy benefactor?

The wealthy benefactors of 2020 don't see "a classic piece of amusement park history that needs to be preserved and modernized", they see "prime real estate for a profitable mixed-use development with high-end apartments".

 

If we take Apex comments at face value, it's just not a good investment. Makes a profit, but not enough to re-invest to keep it viable.

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If Indiana Beach truly ends up closing for good this will be just as terrible as the loss of the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. How on earth can there not be any help from government with a landmark status or help from a wealthy benefactor?

The wealthy benefactors of 2020 don't see "a classic piece of amusement park history that needs to be preserved and modernized", they see "prime real estate for a profitable mixed-use development with high-end apartments".

 

If we take Apex comments at face value, it's just not a good investment. Makes a profit, but not enough to re-invest to keep it viable.

 

If you're making a profit, it isn't a question of viablity (literally profit is viability), it's a question the margins being such that the return on investment won't be great enough. I don't know how they think dumping a butt ton of used rides and equipment on the marketplace is going to recoup that any faster, but I also would guess that they're probably not the most competent crew actually running the show. I'll venture to guess that the real estate sale may have been enough in and of itself to mine value out of the park.

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, the county may find it in their best interests to find a way to keep the park open, especially if the cost to do so would be less than the lost tax revenue.

 

You have a good argument, but I'm still not on board for any government funding. I wonder if a temporary tax break for a few years might insentivise a new owner to step up to the plate and leave some room for further investments. It would be a compromise, but it might be a good long ball strategy. Then again, I don't know what kind of tax burden the park currently faces. It might be drops in the bucket compared to other expenses.

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, the county may find it in their best interests to find a way to keep the park open, especially if the cost to do so would be less than the lost tax revenue.

 

I would also like to add the possibility of lost profits to other businesses that are near or around Indiana Beach. We the riders and amusement park flyers not only spend money for amusement parks, but also for the restaurants, hotels, and other places of amusements that are nearby. If we don't have that destination anymore, then we have no business to do business with the other businesses and will go elsewhere.

 

With Myrtle Beach and them losing both the Pavilion and Hard Rock Park, that area has so many attractions and things to do that it can handle whenever an attraction closes because something else will move in and take its place ( it would be like if Bill Gates loses a dollar). However, the situation at Indiana Beach is different and if something isn't done about it and soon, the businesses of those areas will start to see their profits declining because the extra tourists that used to visit their shops would dwindle to nearly nothing (like Bill Gates losing millions).

 

In conclusion, if there is no park to visit in a particular place then we the riders and amusement park flyers don't go there!

 

Tune from the song "Paradise"

 

"Daddy, could you take me to Indiana Beach?

To that amusement park where paradise lays?

I'm sorry, my son, you're too late in asking;

They closed that park down and haul the rides away!"

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