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Muncie summer recreation site to be auctioned

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An eastern Indiana recreation site that has been used by area residents and Ball State University summer students for swimming, fishing, water skiing and camping since 1957 is going to be auctioned.

Owner Don Irving says he and his wife Barbara decided to sell the nine-acre Water Bowl and 160 surrounding acres in rural Muncie because they are in failing health, The Star Press reported.

"Our kids can't run it because it's open only four months of the year. What are they supposed to do the other eight months to make a living?" he said.

Don Irving said the increasing cost of insurance also was a challenge, as was the challenge of operating a family-run site.

"I don't get no subsidy, either. Tuhey Pool and the (Prairie Creek) Reservoir, that's all government subsidy. Most of these parks are run by the government. Individuals like me can't keep things rolling," he said.

Mark Smithson, a manager for Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co., said people in the area have fond memories of the Water Bowl. The facility has been a popular leisure site for Ball State summer students for decades.

"They had crowds of people out there who would go swimming all day. They had concerts out there, company picnics, union gatherings. What makes it interesting is so many people have been out there for different reasons and are aware of the property," he said.

Six tracts will be sold during the auction May 12 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, including 21 acres containing the Water Bowl and its beach front, beach house and concession stand; 77 acres of farm land; 16 acres of woods; a 20-acre lake that has been used by the Muncie Ski Club; and more than 18 acres of rolling grassland.

Smithson said the area could become an industrial site because in 1973 the area was classified to be in an intense industrial zone.

"It certainly presents an opportunity, because you don't have to have anything re-zoned. But I don't know if the demand is there," he said.

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