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New Indiana Beach owner said his first priority is fixing the park's infrastructure

Chicago businessman, Gene Staples, told News 18 he was interested in buying Indiana Beach the day it went on the market in the middle of February.

Posted: Apr 23, 2020 10:59 PM

MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) -- Chicago businessman, Gene Staples, told News 18 he was interested in buying Indiana Beach the day it went on the market in the middle of February.

He and Monticello Mayor Cathy Gross said it's important to keep the nostalgic feel of amusement park.

"We had a little fun putting some hints out there on Facebook," said Staples.

On Facebook, Indiana Beach posted multiple photos teasing a reopening within the past few weeks. 

"I was optimistic from the start," said Mayor Gross. 

"We are going forward with the hope of being open this season," said Staples.

This season could have been the first season in the amusement park's 94 year history to not be open.

Staples, a Chicago resident, said the sale happened in the beginning of April, but he was holding off telling the public for two reasons.

He wanted to make sure the deal was finalized in Monticello and also be mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic because it is still coursing through the country.

"With that said, we are as anxious as anyone else to see what happens in the coming weeks," said Staples.

Within the next few weeks Staples hopes he can at least start making infrastructure improvements. That is his first priority.

His second priority is keeping up the legacy of Indiana Beach.

"We are losing a lot of Americana through the years," said Staples.

"We are just excited to know that someone, some group has the same affection for and vision for what we know as our jewel," said Mayor Gross.

That jewel is where Staples spent many weekends and childhood summers.

The terms of the purchase cannot be disclosed by Staples said the economic incentive sweetened the deal. It was worth around $3 million. 

"Working with the county and their ability to cooperate and contribute is what was able to put the deal over the top," said Staples.

Staples said he wants to get the campground opened as soon as possible and all season passes and reservations will be honored.

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