The Hoosier Hurricane roller coaster can be seen in this file photo taken at Indiana Beach. Staff file photo by 
Kevin Burkett | Pharos
The Hoosier Hurricane roller coaster can be seen in this file photo taken at Indiana Beach. Staff file photo by Kevin Burkett | Pharos
Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park Resort closed for good Wednesday afternoon.

Apex Parks Group, which owns the park, reportedly decided to close Indiana Beach after an unsuccessful attempt to find a buyer.

The White County Commissioners office has confirmed the closure. However, they declined to comment further and forwarded all inquiries to White County Economic Development President Randy Mitchell. Mitchell hasn’t returned calls, and no one is answering phones at Indiana Beach.

The Indiana Beach Amusement Park and Water Park Resort website included no advance information about the closing. The park’s website was down as of Tuesday afternoon. Its last Facebook post was on Feb. 5, promoting a job fair scheduled for Feb. 29. It is unknown whether that event will still take place.

Amusement Today magazine shows rides from the park listed for sale in its March 2020 issue. The article states that “Apex Parks Group contacted multiple amusement facilities in February with a list of several rides and games being liquidated from two of its properties: Indiana Beach in Monticello, Indiana, and Fantasy Island in Grand Island, New York ... While the majority of each park’s rides were listed as available for sale, it remains unknown if some of the attractions may be relocated to other Apex properties.”

Indiana Beach was originally named Ideal Beach when the Spackman family founded it in 1926. It was a beach resort on the newly-formed Lake Shafer, created by one of the hydroelectric dams that utility company NIPSCO put along the Tippecanoe River. The first amusement ride came in 1927, and the park continued to grow with amusement rides and carnival attractions.

Indiana Beach was also known for having major pop acts in The Beach Ballroom during the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Janis Joplin, The Beach Boys, Louis Armstrong, The Who and Sonny and Cher.

In February 2008, the Spackman family sold the park to Morgan RV LLC, which sold it to Apex Parks on Sept. 1, 2015.

In recent years, Apex Parks made changes that were unpopular with Indiana Beach’s longtime patrons. Those included requiring admission to walk the boardwalk and visit restaurants and focusing promotions on the Chicago area and other places, while no longer advertising in local publications.

Season ticket prices also went up, and Apex was accused of driving independent restaurants out of the park. One of those restaurants, the popular Taco Shoppe, announced in July 2018 that it was leaving the park. On designated days, Taco Shoppe employees walked orders out of the park to customers who ordered them ahead of time. The Taco Shoppe has since relocated into downtown Monticello.

In July 2019, the state investigated a report of a 12-year-old girl being shocked as she got off the Hoosier Hurricane roller coaster two days after a 12-year-old boy riding it suffered a medical condition and died. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security inspected the ride after each incident, and after six test rides the second time, it failed to produce the shock again.

The Spackman family remained popular in the area, and in October 2017, White County renamed the bridge on West Shafer Drive after Thomas Earl Spackman and his wife, Helen Florence Spackman. More than 70 people showed for the weekend dedication. He was the son of Earl Spackman, who started Ideal Beach, and he was known for going into the park and talking to visitors informally, taking suggestions and making sure they were satisfied.
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